Collaboration of Bosch, Stanford and Univ. of South Florida receives $1.2M grant from NSF/DOE partnership for automotive thermoelectric waste heat recovery
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded a collaboration between Stanford University, the University of South Florida and Bosch Research and Technology Center North America a $1.2-million, three-year grant (award #1048796) to address various topics relevant to automotive waste heat recovery using thermoelectrics.
These topics include novel interface materials and designs that can accommodate very large thermomechanical strains, high temperature thermoelectric materials that are efficient and can be reliably mated to heat sinks and electrodes, practical metrology for assessment of performance and durability, and systems-level integration of advanced materials and thermal management concepts.
The researchers will conduct fundamental investigations of interface materials, thermoelectric materials, and heat transfer relevant to thermoelectric harvesting of waste heat in vehicle applications, and develop a new tape design for implementing carbon nanotube films as thermal interface materials. This approach is to reduce both electrical and thermal interface resistances, and enhance the durability of the interfaces as they undergo thermal cycling inherent in the application.
The team will design experiments to determine the microscale characteristics of interface (and adjoining) materials and how these characteristics evolve in response to thermal cycling. The knowledge acquired from the experiments will ultimately be used to design interfaces in a manner that will improve performance and increase durability.
The influence of filling fraction, doping, grain size, and inclusion concentration in skutterudites will be quantified through experimentation and modeling, leading to improved thermoelectric materials. Fundamental and new metrology methods will be developed in partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and, in conjunction with first principles modeling, will enable tuning of the relevant properties of both thermoelectric and interface materials. A combined fundamental and systems-level approach will be employed to integrate the knowledge pertaining to thermoelectric and interface material performance with advanced thermal management concepts such as but not limited to multiphase vapor cooling, to thermoelectric waste heat harvesting.
In addition, the research will be integrated with education and outreach including a new collegiate design competition specific to thermoelectric energy harvesting applications to promote teaching and learning and engage the broader community in energy technology activities. Research discoveries will be integrated in undergraduate and graduate classes at both Stanford and The University of South Florida. Additional activities include but are not limited to development of research experiences for both high school students and teachers, targeting high schools with large numbers of students from underrepresented groups.
Bosch will provide its expertise in the fields of quantum mechanics and computational fluid dynamics. Using computer simulation methods at the atomistic level, Bosch researchers will investigate how to decrease inefficiencies present in contacts between different materials in the device. Conversely, using computer simulations at the device level, Bosch researchers will seek to increase overall efficiency by appropriate design and thermal management.
In 1999, Bosch established the Research and Technology Center (RTC) North America with offices in Palo Alto, Calif. and Pittsburgh, Penn. An additional office was opened in 2007 in Cambridge, Mass. RTC is committed to providing technologies and system solutions for various Bosch business fields primarily in the areas of sensors, circuit design, wireless solutions, energy materials and technologies, complex simulations, software engineering, human machine interface design, car infotainment, web technologies and autonomous systems such as robotics.