PRINTEG project completion
The PRINTEG project officially ended 30th November 2015, and the activity and reporting has now completed with the final report issued.
The project has been essential in dealing with the main issues for commercialisation of mid-temperature devices. Some of the challenges have been addressed however valuable knowledge and capability has been captured ideal for taking forward the technology.
A pilot line has been set up which requires further actions for increasing speed and reliability however is a major step forward over lab based hand built devices, and allows a significant reduction in cost for many of the prototype devices.
Summary of completion report as follows:
- Advanced automated technologies have been developed for surface mounted pick and place, interconnect deposition and belt furnace sintering. Automated TE powder handling and consolidation approaches have been considered but it has been concluded that existing technologies such as plasma torch sintering and spark plasma sintering have further activity as scale up technologies for automation.
- The complete module manufacturing process has been validated in relation to predicted production volumes and associated costs. An automated high quality pilot line has been established which significantly increases capacity beyond hand assembly of devices.
- The introduction of a number of specified potential modifications to the overall manufacturing process is anticipated to increase the daily production capacity from 95 to 1894 modules with a corresponding cost reduction of up to 88%. However the largest portion of the manufacturing cost is associated with thermoelectric pellet manufacture rather than the module assembly. Also a significant amount of knowledge has been obtained regarding the challenging area of joining with respect to the n-type TE material.
- Analysis indicates that there are CO2e savings to be gained by fitting a TEG assembly to a vehicle if the performance of the TEG assembly exceeds a 0.5% saving. Cost analysis demonstrate that the target system cost of 1$/W (£0.85/W) has not been achieved. However, after a cost sensitivity analysis and formal review was undertaken it is expected and believed achievable for modifications targeting heat exchanger design, thermoelectric module construction, coating technology and net shape activity that will address these points.