Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering



Electrolyte- and Transport Enhanced Thermogalvanic Energy Conversion


Mr. Andrey Gunawan


Arizona State University


Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 11:00:00 AM


MRDC Building, Room 4211


Dr. Shannon Yee


Waste heat energy conversion remains an inviting subject for research, given the renewed emphasis on energy efficiency and carbon emissions reduction. Solid-state thermoelectric devices have been widely investigated, but their practical application remains challenging because of cost and the inability to fabricate them in geometries that are easily compatible with heat sources. An intriguing alternative to solid-state thermoelectric devices is thermogalvanic cells, which include a generally liquid electrolyte that permits the transport of ions. Thermogalvanic cells have long been known in the electrochemistry community, but have not received much attention from the thermal transport community. This is surprising given that their performance is highly dependent on controlling both thermal and mass (ionic) transport. This talk will focus on our research project at ASU, which is an interdisciplinary collaboration between mechanical engineering (thermal transport) and chemistry, and is a largely experimental effort aimed at improving fundamental understanding of thermogalvanic systems. The first part will present a new approach to enhance Seebeck coefficient by tuning the configurational entropy of mixed-ligand complex formation of CuSO4 electrolytes. The second part of the talk will discuss how a simple utilization of natural convection within the cell doubles the maximum power output of the cell. Finally, some of the results from the previous parts will be applied in a feasibility study of incorporating thermogalvanic waste heat recovery systems into automobiles. A summary of these results as well as possible future work that can be formed from these efforts will also be presented.


Andrey is currently a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU), leading a NSF-funded interdisciplinary research project on thermogalvanic energy conversion for harvesting electricity from low-grade thermal energy, such as low-temperature geothermal, and waste heat from industrial processes, power plants, or automobiles. He was born in Jakarta, Indonesia and attended the Institut Teknologi Bandung where he obtained his BS in Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2008. After graduating, he decided to come to United States to pursue higher education. He received his MS in Aerospace Engineering consecutively in 2010 from the University of Southern California, before joining Professor Patrick Phelan’s lab at ASU. Much of Andrey’s early PhD work focused on nanofluids-based solar thermal energy conversion. His research interests also include flexible thermoelectrics and self-powered portable/wearable electronics. He is the recipient of several honors and awards including The Electrochemical Society (ECS) Joseph W. Richards Summer Fellowship (2014), Honorable Mention of the Link Foundation Energy Fellowship (2014), and together with his co-authors he received the First Place (Best) Paper Award in the ASME Power Division Student Paper Competition at the ASME Power & Energy 2015 Conference. Outside the lab, he has volunteered with the IEEE Transportation Electrification Newsletter as an editor since its inception in April 2013.


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