Weekly Seminar: Topics in Thermal Energy Saving and Recovery, and the Role of Nanoelectronic Materials
Larry K. Monteith Engineering Research Center, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27616, USA
The energy efficiency is approximately 40 percent in the world, which means nearly 60 percent of all the energy that we produce is wasted mainly as heat. Power plants, industrial processes, refractories, transportation technologies, consumer appliances, or even the solar energy all produce significant amount of heat, which is usually wasted and deposited into the environment. In this seminar, several aspects of energy-saving and waste heat recovery are discussed, and the role of nanotechnology in response to this global need is emphasized. At first, we will present the application of microwave technologies and recent advances in materials processing using electromagnetic radiation. Microwave technology is expanding over much larger sector than it is used today. As we will discuss, microwave application can result in high energy efficiency, new and efficient methods of materials synthesis, and even the reduction of the greenhouse emissions in refractories. In the next step, the solid-sate thermal energy conversion using thermoelectric materials is introduced. The basic concepts, recent advances, and methods based on nanoengineering for making efficient thermoelectric materials is presented. The materials are presented from the very basic to advanced levels so the science and engineering students with little background can follow the discussions and hopefully be able to benefit from these discussions in their future or ongoing research projects.