Conversion between Magnetic, Electric, and Thermal energies in phase-transforming

The COMET project is to identify a novel phase-transforming material with ultra-low thermal hysteresis and very large fields (magnetic or electrical) during the phase transformation, an important step towards a high-efficiency PTM-based energy harvesting Technology.

About the Project

This project aims to develop a radically new technology for harvesting low-temperature heat. Such heat is available in huge amounts from renewable sources (e.g. geothermal and solar) as well as in many industrial and domestic processes. It is based on phase transformation materials (PTMs) exhibiting large and abrupt changes in a physical property at a certain temperature. The change can e.g. be structural, magnetic, or electrical, giving rise to shape memory alloys, thermomagnetic, and pyroelectric materials. These are physical phenomena that have been known for some time, but applications have been scarce due to severe problems with hysteresis and stability. However, recent progress in the theory of such transformations has in principle solved these issues, and the path is open to devices that can convert heat to electricity with efficiencies Close to the thermodynamic limit (the Carnot efficiency). The COMET Project will benefit from this development through collaboration with the groups that developed the theory. It will further develop and merge a whole suite of new techniques that are specifically aimed towards identifying novel PTMs with superior properties for energy harvesting.

This includes the following advances at the frontier of this field: 1. The first true ab initio calculation of pyroelectric coefficients. 2. The first identification of a Complete set of descriptors (defining parameters) targeted at PTMs. 3. The first high-throughput screening modelling study on PTMs based on first principles, exploiting the exceptional efficiency of the temperature-dependent effective potential method. 4. The first synthesis of compositionally graded films for high-throughput experimental search and validation of theoretically predicted PTM properties. 5. The first study linking first-principles calculations, synthesis, and characterization of microscopic and functional properties of multiferroic PTMs. The Project is led by SINTEF and will run for 3 years.


The Research Council of Norway.

Published Nov. 3, 2017 9:46 AM - Last modified Nov. 3, 2017 10:18 AM