N.D. Subasinghe, Professor
National Institute of Fundamental Studies, Sri Lanka
Biography: Prof. N.D. Subasinghe is leading the Renewable Energy and Natural Resources research group at the National Institute of Fundamental Studies (NIFS), a premier research institute in Sri Lanka, since 2009. After completing his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Sri Lanka, he earned his Ph.D. from University of Reading, England in 1999. He worked as a Senior Lecturer in Physics at the Open University of Sri Lanka from 2000-2003. From 2003 to 2009, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the RMIT University, Australia. He has worked as a lecturer and a researcher at several universities in Australia, Sri Lanka and the UK, during his career.
Topic: Thermoelectricity for Power Generation and Energy Harvesting
Abstract: Thermoelectric materials are capable of converting heat energy directly into electricity, thus providing a unique way of mitigating energy problems and environmental issues such as pollution and CO2 emissions. Thermoelectric generators use “Seebeck Effect” to convert heat energy directly into electrical energy or vice versa. One of the greatest and unique advantages of thermoelectricity is the ability to increase the overall efficiency of an existing system by harvesting waste heat and converting to useful electricity. Other advantages include the reliability, scalability and ability to be used with any source of heat and practically at any temperature range. In addition, the possibility of using the same material for refrigeration using the Peltier cooling makes them more versatile. Modern thermoelectric materials are used in variety of applications from powering wrist watches to spacecrafts. Recent advances in material science and nano-science fields have contributed to increase the Figure of Merit of the thermoelectric materials, thus increasing the efficiency as well as the possible applications. With the development of advanced materials with Figure of Merit (ZT) values over 2.5, there are hopes of building thermovoltaic devices that match the commercial photovoltaic devices in energy-converting efficiency. Current trends and advances in the field of thermoelectricity are given here as a brief review. Apart from developing advanced thermoelectric materials such as n- and p-type semiconductors, developing smart designs and modules is also important. Reducing thermal conductivity and increasing electrical conductivity are two of the main practical challenges faced and are better dealt with smart designs. In certain cases, cheaper and less-advanced material can be used in certain applications, especially to produce low-cost, rugged and affordable devices for “energy scavenging”. Promising results obtained from the experiments with graphite and its derivatives are presented here. Theoretical background, challenges as well as the practical problems and possible solutions are also discussed here.
Janne Peltonen, Senior Scientist, Project Manager
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Biography: Janne Peltonen (M), Senior Scientist, Project Manager, has worked over 12 years at VTT. He is a specialist in developing new innovative concepts and solutions for sustainable smart cities. He is an IPMA-C certified project manager, and has strong experience of leading international customer projects and EU projects as well. Current responsibility areas include leading large international smart city projects in Asian region countries as China, South-Korea and Japan. Technological competences include building and district level energy saving technologies, information management systems, commissioning procedures, automation systems, and monitoring technologies.
Topic: EU-China Cooperation for Innovative Urbanisation
Abstract: China has become one of Europe key international partners in research and innovation and it is now in a position to fully contribute to and benefit from Europe’s research and innovation capacity. VTT has offered the opportunities for Europe and China to cooperate more actively and in a more balanced way in research and innovation for the common benefit of both regions. Moreover, cooperation on urban issues has been on the agenda of E.U.-China cooperation dialogue already since 2013. VTT has been developing an open solution-oriented platform to facilitate EU-China cooperation in sustainable urbanization focusing on small scale projects. Finland’s activities in China have been focusing on innovations that drive R&D based on common societal needs and citizens aspirations through the comprehensive thread of sustainable urbanisation.