Direct Conversion of Low-Grade Heat to Electricity using Pyroelectric Conversion

J. Yu (PRC) and M. Ikura (Canada)


Waste heat, pyroelectric, direct conversion


Direct conversion of low-grade heat to electric power according to the Olsen cycle was conducted using a single 40 :m thick 60/40P(VDF-TrFE) film. An experimental circuit directly measured pyroelectric output responding to synchronized temperature and voltage cyclings. Various operational parameters that affect pyroelectric conversion were examined in detail. The results showed that proper operating conditions are needed to ensure that the pyroelectric film reaches sufficient discharge at high temperature and also to avoid complete depolarization by overheating during the heating leg of the Olsen cycle. We determined that at least 5 MV/m of the electric field must be maintained at all times for effective pyroelectric conversion. By synchronizing temperature and voltage cyclings, we were able to increase conversion output. A net output energy density of 40 J/L of copolymer was achieved under applied voltage between 600V-1000V and film temperature 40o C-70o C.

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