We improve our energy efficiency with electric nanogenerators.

Reducing energy waste from waste management plants was the inspiration for developing a technology, along with the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, that could respond to this challenge.

Hence, as part of a Scientific Research & Technological Development project funded by the Compete 2020 Program and by the FCT (Foundation for Science and Technology), and developed in partnership with CeNTI (Centre for Nanotechnology and Smart Materials) and the University of Minho (Centro ALGORITMI), we are developing thermoelectric generators which can transform energy lost in the form of heat, by machines and motors and in processes such as industrial composting, into electrical energy that can be injected into the power grid or used directly in the process again, thus improving their energy efficiency.
The project has been presented in over 20 national and international conferences, including the poster that we presented at the ISWA World Conference, in Baltimore, U.S.A.
They have been used in the prototype test for a device which converts composted thermal energy into electrical energy, thermoelectric nano elements, which are more efficient when compared with thermoelectric elements available in the market. This research also involved tests being carried out on our biogas burning plant, using the heat energy released by the burning gases exhaust pipe, obtaining impressive results which enabled the development of new thermoelectric elements.

This initiative gave rise to a PhD thesis and seven Master's theses. Three scientific papers were published, of which we highlight the one that describes the experience in our Organic Recovery Plant.

The project researchers received two well-deserved awards as part of the Young Scientist Awards Project – Symposium of Inorganic Thermoelectrics, in Strasbourg and the award for best oral presentation at the National Conference of Physics Students, Braga.

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