Annex VIII: Co-operative program on the development of thermoelectric materials for waste heat recovery in transportation industries

Annex Goals
The annex aims to develop test methods for the evaluation of thermoelectric materials and to develop precision statements for the standardization of these methods. Specifically, we aim to:

  • Exchange Technical information
  • Develop standard testing methods and procedures for thermoelectrics (power generation and heating/cooling)
  • Conduct international round-robin studies on thermoelectric materials (300-800 K)
  • Conduct international round-robin studies on thermoelectric devices (300-800 K)
  • Facilitate and promote the transition from materials R&D to commercial applications

Participating Countries and Laboratories

  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee (lead)
  • Marlow Industries, Dallas, Texas
  • General Motors R&D Center, Warren, Michigan
  • Army Research Laboratory, Adelphi, Maryland
  • Airforce Research Laboratory, Dayton, Ohio
  • Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
  • GMZ Energy, Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Gentherm (ZT-Plus), Los Angeles, California
  • Corning Inc. Corning, New York
  • National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, Maryland
  • University of Houston, Houston, Texas


  • CanmetMaterials, Hamilton Ontario (lead)
  • University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
  • Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Chicoutimi, Quebec
  • Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, Montreal, Quebec


  • Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Shanghai (lead)


  • Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement, Freiburg (lead)

United Kingdom

  • National Physical Laboratory (NPL), London (lead)

South Korea

  • Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute (KERI) Daejeon (lead)
  • Hanbat National University, Daejeon

Overview of Scope
Dr. Shengqiang Bai of Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, China took over this Annex by unanimous vote of the Executive Committee as the international round robin tests are drawing to a close. The scope will expand to include thermal management of electric vehicles (EV). The objective of the Annex now is to conduct cooperative research and development on energy efficiency improvement by new materials and techniques in thermal storage, transfer, and conversion, which will lead the exploration of the potential applications in marine, EV and HEV.

Annex Participants:

  • Canada: Led by Dr. Yu-Chih Tseng, CanmetMATERIALS, Canada
  • China: Led by Shengqiang Bai, Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, CAS, China (Chair)
  • Germany: Led by Dr. Jan Konig, Fraunhofer Institute for Phys. Meas, Germany
  • Korea: Led by Dr. H.W. Lee, Korea Electro Technology Institute, Korea
  • US: TBD

As an environmentally friendly energy conversion technique, thermoelectric power generation devices based on the Seebeck effect have long been regarded as one of the best solutions to improve efficiency of energy consumption by turning waste heat directly into electric power. The most attractive features include all solid-state devices with no moving parts, no emissions and easy adaption to generate energy from any heat source. Some build-up demo system of exhaust heat recovery based on thermoelectric materials and realized a FE improvement of 1-3% with the output power of about 500 Watts. For the lack of international testing standard of thermoelectric materials and devices, the reported data from different affiants has a huge deviation. Focusing on the goal of testing standard, Annex VIII carried out a series of international round robin testing for both thermoelectric materials and modules. After systemic analysis, Annex VIII proposed the testing standard and published in the scientific paper, which was recognized by the thermoelectric society. In 2018-2019, the 5th international round robin test of thermoelectric module was in processing. Two half-Heusler modules have been selected. Fraunhofer Institute in Freiburg, Germany and SICCAS have exchanged modules and completed testing. The modules have been sent to ORNL. Due to the COVID-19, the round-robin test has been temporarily paused.

With the technical aids of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), the accelerated approaching of automobile electrification makes the traditional automobile industry facing the unprecedented challenges. According to this transformation, the initial technical route focusing on the internal combustion engine (ICE) need re-evaluated and adapted to meet the future demands. Almost all the passenger cars in the future will be transformed into electric vehicles. Meanwhile, there is still some areas need ICEs, such as marine and extra long-range trucks. Energy efficiency improvement and emission reduction based on the new materials/techniques will be the important technical target of ICEs in the next decades.

Thermal management is one of the critical technical elements in electric vehicles (EV) or hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). For example, Battery Thermal Management (BTM) not only affects the energy efficiency but also the safety. The air-condition in EV, especially the Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) is a high energy consumption part, which critically reduced the driving range. In recent years, some attempts have been carried out in the BTM and HVAC system in EVs by introducing new materials or techniques (e.g. phase change materials) to reduce energy consumption.

With the goal of energy saving and emission reduction, Annex VIII will extend the research scope to developing new materials and techniques in thermal storage, transfer, conversion and utilize in the potential applications in marine, EV and HEV in the next years.

Annex Chairman - Dr. Shengqiang Bai
Shanghai Institute of Ceramics
Chinese Academy of Science

Annex Outputs and Publications:
1. International Round-Robin Study of the Thermoelectric Transport Properties of an n-Type Half-Heusler Compound from 300 K to 773 K Journal of Electronic Materials, 44 (11), 4482 (2015)

  • Hsin Wang, Shengqiang Bai, Lidong Chen, Alexander Cuenat, Giri Joshi, Holger Kleinke, Jan König, Hee Woong Lee, Joshua Martin, Min-Wook Oh, Wallace D. Porter, Zhifeng Ren, James Salvador, Jeff Sharp, Patrick Taylor, Alan J Thompson, Yu-Chih Tseng

2. Determination of thermoelectric module efficiency: a survey Journal of Electronic Materials 43 (6), 2274 (2014)

  • Hsin Wang, Robin McCarty, James R Salvador, Atsushi Yamamoto, Jan König

3. Transport properties of bulk thermoelectrics—an international round-robin study, part I: Seebeck coefficient and electrical resistivity Journal of Electronic Materials 42 (4), 654 (2013)

  • Hsin Wang, Wallace D. Porter, Harald Böttner, Jan König, Lidong Chen, Shengqiang Bai, Terry M Tritt, Alex Mayolet, Jayantha Senawiratne, Charlene Smith, Fred Harris, Patricia Gilbert, Jeff W Sharp, Jason Lo, Holger Kleinke, Laszlo Kiss

4. Transport properties of bulk thermoelectrics: an international round-robin study, part II: thermal diffusivity, specific heat, and thermal conductivity Journal of Electronic Materials 42 (6), 1073 (2013)

  • Hsin Wang, Wallace D. Porter, Harald Böttner, Jan König, Lidong Chen, Shengqiang Bai, Terry M Tritt, Alex Mayolet, Jayantha Senawiratne, Charlene Smith, Fred Harris, Patricia Gilbert, Jeff Sharp, Jason Lo, Holger Kleinke, Laszlo Kiss

IEA Topical Report:

  • Annex VIII – Thermoelectric Materials for Waste Heat Recovery: An International Collaboration for Transportation Applications ORNL/TM-2011/393
  • Hsin Wang, Wallace D. Porter, Harald Böttner, Jan König, Lidong Chen, Shengqiang Bai, Terry M Tritt, Alex Mayolet, Jayantha Senawiratne, Charlene Smith, Fred Harris, Patricia Gilbert, Jeff Sharp, Jason Lo, Holger Kleinke, Laszlo Kiss

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