Thermal energy harvesting using pyroelectric-electrochemical coupling in ferroelectric materials

Yan Zhang, Pham Thi Thuy Phuong, Eleanor Roake, Hamideh Khanbareh, Yaqiong Wang, Steve Dunn, Chris Bowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (SciVal)
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Recently, the coupling of ferroelectrics with electrochemical reactions has attracted increasing interest for harvesting waste heat. The change of polarization of a ferroelectric with temperature can be used to influence chemical reactions, especially when the material is cycled near its Curie temperature. In this perspective, we introduce the principle of pyroelectric controlled electrochemical processes by harvesting waste heat energy and explore their potential electrochemical applications, such as water treatment, air purification, and hydrogen generation. As an emerging approach for driving electrochemical reactions, the presence of thermal fluctuations and/or transient waste heat in the environment has the potential to be the primary thermal input for driving the change in polarization of a pyroelectric to release charge for such reactions. There are a number of avenues to explore, and we summarize strategies for forming multi-functional or hybrid materials and future directions such as selecting pyroelectrics with low Curie temperature (<100°C), improved heat conductivity, enhanced surface area or porosity, tailored microstructures, and systems capable of operating over a broader temperature range.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-309
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Early online date29 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)


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