Prof Douglas J. Paul > Thermoelectrics

Thermoelectrics is the generation of electricity from thermal energy through the Seebeck effect. We are presently undertaking research to develop efficient thermoelectric materials and modules which can be used for energy harvesting or for Peltier cooling.

TE Generator

Thermoelectric generators are a renewable and sustainable method of electricity generation. A thermoelectric module consists of a hot side and a cold side. A temperature difference, DT, across a p-type or a n-type semiconductor will generate a voltage and current through the Seebeck effect. A module combines pairs of n- and p-type semiconductors.


The figure of merit for thermoelectric materials with a Seebeck coefficient alpha, electrical conductivity sigma, thermal conductivity kappa and temperature, T is given by


We have proposed a new method of creating highly efficient thermoelectric materials and we are presently undertaking research to demonstrate this new concept which should allow thermoelectric generators with around 20 to 30% efficiency.


The thermoelectrics work is funded under the EC GREEN Silicon research project which can be found here.