Hot off the press: published article on Energy & Environmental Science!
The beginning of 2019 has been fruitful in terms of publications for the N&N group! Last 22nd January 2019 the article “Farming thermoelectric paper” was published on Energy & Environmental Science. This study has been carried out in collaborations with the NanOpto group at ICMAB. Congratulations to all the authors for this multidisciplinary work!
Abstract: Waste heat to electricity conversion using thermoelectric generators is emerging as a key technology in the forthcoming energy scenario. Carbon-based composites could unleash the as yet untapped potential of thermoelectricity by combining the low cost, easy processability, and low thermal conductivity of biopolymers with the mechanical strength and good electrical properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Here we use bacteria in environmentally friendly aqueous media to grow large area bacterial nanocellulose (BC) films with an embedded highly dispersed CNT network. The thick films (≈10 μm) exhibit tuneable transparency and colour, as well as low thermal and high electrical conductivity. Moreover, they are fully bendable, can conformally wrap around heat sources and are stable above 500 K, which expands the range of potential uses compared to typical conducting polymers and composites. The high porosity of the material facilitates effective n-type doping, enabling the fabrication of a thermoelectric module from farmed thermoelectric paper. Because of vertical phase separation of the CNTs in the BC composite, the grown films at the same time serve as both the active layer and separating layer, insulating each thermoelectric leg from the adjacent ones. Last but not least, the BC can be enzymatically decomposed, completely reclaiming the embedded CNTs.Nanocellulose films with multiple functional nanoparticles in confined spatial distribution