Sub-Programme C: Advanced Materials for Heat Exploitation and Energy Conversion

Coordinator: Marie-Laure Fontaine, SINTEF (NO) & Deputy: Monica Fabrizio, CNR (IT) 

A dominant fraction of the world’s power, roughly 10 trillion watts, is produced by burning fossil fuels and running internal combustion engines. For every watt of mechanical power generated, almost one and a half watts are dumped as waste thermal power. This is in part due to intrinsic thermodynamic constraints and in part to techno-economic feasibility limits. Reference temperatures and cost effectiveness boundaries for heat recovery are application sensitive (building, industry, mobility, renewables sectors,…); this suggests that we can use a different indicator for heat exploitation, such as the exergy content. Heat with low exergy (i.e. related to high entropy/irreversible processes)) is indeed difficult to recover to valuable heat or mechanical work in an economic manner, mainly due to low driving forces (a typical example is the temperature difference between the fluid in the low temperature range of the energy cycle and the recipient fluid or solid at ambient temperature). Low/mid temperature (waste) heat is generated by several processes and can be derived from some renewable energy sources (geothermal, solar thermal, heat of anthropic origin, etc.) to increase their efficiency.

The SPC relates to research, development and testing in operando conditions of materials for intensified temperature heat exploitation. Five focus areas are considered:

- Energy harvesting materials;

- Polymer nano-composites for intensified heat transfer;

- Micro- and nano-structured heat exchange surfaces; - Nanofluids,

- Materials for thermochemical energy storage.

Each of these focus areas is characterised with quantified research targets to be achieved in a five year time perspective by resorting the tools made available by the TOOLS subprogrammes of AMPEA. Tight connection with the relevant EU initiatives (e.g. ICT-Flagship, SPIRE) and associations (e.g. EMIRI, CEFIC) are desirable, as well as with other EERA joint programmes (e.g. Energy storage, Concentrated Solar Power, Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, Geothermal Energy). The research efforts carried out should be capable of generating new devices based on the advanced materials developed (thermo-electric modules, polymer heat exchangers, innovative heat exchange and storage) .

The sub-programme is revised continuously according to the new insights of participants such as ionic liquids with peculiar thermoelectric properties and thermoelectric materials for high temperature applications. Given the advancement of the state of the art, specific reviews concerning the “Grand challenges” are also amended, focusing on realistic goals. Heat recovery and energy conversion topics include many applications and technologies but only a few are considered in this sub-programme.


Dr. Marie-Laure Fontaine SP coordinator