The University of Melbourne
Dr James Hutchison has been awarded a 12-month Study Melbourne Research Partnerships program grant for his project titled…
New directions for the harvesting and manipulation of thermal energy
International Partner: Research Institute for Electronic Science (RIES), The University of Hokkaido, Japan
The University of Melbourne’s Nanoscience Laboratories provide a state-of-the-art laboratory for nanomaterials synthesis and characterisation. Hokkaido University’s Research Institute for Electronic Science (RIES) is the hub of the “Hokkaido innovation creation nano-engineering and measurement support network” featuring a wide range of cutting-edge research facilities, particularly clean rooms, nanolithography, and electron microscopy facilities not easily accessed in Melbourne.
New technology to harness the power of “waste” heat
- Synthesis of a new class of thermal energy harvesting materials which are cheap, safe, and sustainable
- A major breakthrough in thermal optoelectronic devices and heat management materials
- Increased energy efficiency could lower costs and assist in efforts to mitigate climate change.
Learn more about the other researchers who have also been awarded a Study Melbourne Research Partnerships program grant in 2021.
Approximately 90% of the world’s energy use involves the generation or manipulation of heat for things like cooling and heating of buildings, and growing food. Future energy economies must better exploit this resource that is often considered a waste product, for example by developing devices which up-convert low energy thermal radiation to a more readily usable form. The University of Melbourne will partner with Hokkaido University to use their combined nanoscience research excellence and state-of-the-art facilities to create new thermal energy technologies.
The aim of this project is two-fold; firstly, to develop methods to produce ultra-thin, thermal harvesting materials using chemical vapour deposition. Secondly, to interface these materials with photonic nanostructures and demonstrate control of thermal relaxation pathways. The final goal is proof-of-principle thermal harvesting which may inspire future device development.
The proposed project will generate fundamental knowledge on the synthesis of a new class of thermal energy harvesting materials which are cheap, safe, and sustainable. It will also generate knowledge on integrating these materials with photonic structures that can modify thermal energy relaxation pathways. This could lead to a major breakthrough in thermal optoelectronic devices and heat management materials for temperature control in buildings. This increased energy efficiency could lower costs and assist in efforts to mitigate climate change.