Project Overview


In developed countries, about 40% of the fuel consumption is used for heating.  Of this, about one-third is wasted due to insufficient transformation technologies into electricity. Waste heat is one of the biggest industrial losses which can be used by exploiting the Seebeck effect enabling special materials to generate electrical energy if exposed to a temperature gradient, like from waste heat for example.

NanoCaTe aims at developing environmentally friendly, flexible, printed thermoelectric harvesters based on innovative nanocarbon-based materials for sensor node (smart sensor) application.

The project is focused on the material research and development for thermoelectric energy harvesting and energy storage with a strong industrial participation and a cluster of teams around each area. The integration of the developed materials into harvester and storage devices is a further objective to characterize the performance of the innovative materials.

The third objective of the NanoCaTe project is the creation of an integrated demonstrator device containing energy harvester, storage unit, wireless communication, energy management, and sensor interface, which will be presented at the end of the project. This integration and demonstration part of the project is managed by an industrial end-user.



The main objectives of the project are:

  • 1. Development of thermoelectric materials:
    • Systematic development of innovative thermoelectric materials for the temperature range between room temperature and 100°C with customized functionality by using nanocarbons.
    • Two complementary approaches for TE materials: nanocarbon-polymercomposites and conventional TE materials with carbon derivate fillers.
    • Exploitation of innovative nanocarbon-based materials for preparation of novel, flexible and environmentally friendly TEG foils by using non-hazardous TE materials.
  • 2. Development of energy storage materials:
    • Systematic development of improved storage materials for operation temperatures up to 100°C with customized functionality by using nanocarbons.
    • Three routes for energy storage:
      • Li-ion secondary batteries for operation temperatures below 60°C.
      • Battery-capacitor hybrids.
      • Supercapacitors for higher temperatures.
    • Evaluation of the different principles for different applications.
  • 3. Use of up-scalable and miniaturization manufacturing techniques like printing for thermoelectric harvesting and storage.
  • 4. Simulation and modelling of nanocarbon filled materials and TEGs.
  • 5. Systematic and standardized characterization and evaluation of nanocarbon enhanced TE and storage materials.
  • 6. Demonstration:
    • Autonomous, maintenance-free smart sensor demonstrator with energy harvester, storage unit, wireless communication, energy management, and sensor interface.
    • Demonstration of a broad range of exploitable results: separate secondary battery, TEGs, inks or pastes.