Thermophotonics as a solution to recovering energy from waste heat

Wednesday, 25 November, 2020
Green leave in a bulb
The TPX-Power project will try to develop new thermophotonic technology in order to resolve global problem of rapidly increasing waste heat from various industrial and societal activities.

The new EIC Pathfinder project called TPX-Power was selected among proposals for FET Proactive 2019 call, in a subtopic focused on breakthrough zero-emissions energy and decarbonisation trends. The main objective of the project is to develop methods to recover the energy from waste heat produced by industry, transport, data processing and other energy intensive processes.

While the waste heat also contributes to increasing need for cooling, new technology developed by TPX Power will allow to convert these energy streams to usable energy, rather than using even more energy for the cooling process. 

To utilize the energy hidden in waste heat, TPX power will transform recent breakthroughs in optical technologies into integrated thermophotonic system for recovering electricity. This approach can lead to the development of extremely efficient optical heat engines, whose power generation capabilities would be ideally suited for extracting thermal energy from relatively low temperature heat sources that are extremely abundant nowadays. 

The TPX-Power team explains more:

“If successful, our project demonstrates and sets on motion the development of a cost- and power-efficient heat energy harvesting technology with unprecedented possibilities throughout the sectors where waste heat is produced. In optimal scenarios the technology could double the efficiency of combustion engines and provide a pollution free energy source substantially improving the process efficiency of any waste heat producing process, providing an essentially negative-emission energy source.”

TPX-Power is coordinated at Aalto University (Finland). Among other participating entities are Stichting Katholieke Universiteit (Netherlands), French National Centre for Scientific Research, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and TF2 Devices (Netherlands). The projects starts in January 2021 and will run for a period of 48 months, until December 2024.       


Background information

FET-Open and FET Proactive are now part of the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot (specifically the Pathfinder), the new home for deep-tech research and innovation in Horizon 2020, the EU funding programme for research and innovation.