Thermoelectrics and Thermal Management Team

CO2-free electricity
Thermoelectrics: Power Generation from Waste Heat and Thermal Management

We develop thermoelectric materials and thermoelectric energy conversion technologies that convert waste heat directly into useful electricity/accurately control temperature using electric current, thereby promoting efficient energy use.

Thermoelectrics and Thermal Management Team

Research themes

  • Achieving high performance in thermoelectric materials and modules, and developing these with earth-abundant and low-toxicity elements
  • Improving the durability of thermoelectric modules, and developing high-accuracy evaluation methods
  • Realizing smart thermal management using thermoelectric conversion technologies (thermoelectric power generation and Peltier cooling)

Concept for social contributions and implementation

Promoting energy conservation and GHG reduction by producing electric power from a variety of heat sources, such as automotive and industrial waste heat, and body heat.

Research Team Leader / Greetings


OHTA Michihiro

Technologies for optimal heat control still have a way to go compared to electricity. This area is promising from both academic and engineering perspectives. Thermal energy often goes to waste and is released to the environment unused. We are one of the few research teams in the world conducting a wide range of research on thermoelectric energy conversion technologies to produce electricity from this “Mottainai” unused heat. By fully utilizing heat, we will help promote the efficient use of energy.

OHTA Michihiro


Principal Research Manager (Thermoelectrics and Thermal Management Team)


Deputy Director (Thermoelectrics and Thermal Management Team, Research Planning Office of Zero Emission)





AMAGAI Yasutaka


OKAWA Kenjiro


MIKAMI Masashi

Technical Staff


Technical Staff


Technical Staff


Technical Staff


Clerical Staff


Contributing to energy conservation and low carbon emissions through the effective heat use

60% of the primary energy supply is disposed without effective utilization in the form of heat (waste heat). Furthermore, improving the efficiency of thermal management is necessary to achieve energy conservation in various devices and processes. Solid-state semiconductor-based thermoelectric modules allow to directly convert waste heat into valuable electricity (thermoelectric power generation) or can be used for highly accurate temperature control using electric current (Peltier cooling). Our team focuses on all aspects of thermoelectric conversion technologies, from cutting-edge materials, modules, power generation demonstrations, and evaluations, in order to promote their widespread use. Advanced manufacturing, analysis, and evaluation facilities are available in our laboratory to promote research and development of thermoelectric technologies.

Figure 1
Realizing energy conservation and efficient thermal management by thermoelectric conversion technologies

Focusing on all aspects of thermoelectrics, from materials, modules, and evaluations

①Improvement in figure of merit of materials using state-of-the-art materials science

Our team focuses on achieving high efficiency in thermoelectric materials through the advanced control of heat and electrical transport and developing new thermoelectric materials made from low resources elements (sulfur, magnesium, etc.) and organic materials.

Figure 2
Nanostructuring and electronic band structure engineering

②Development of module and power generation demonstration

Our team are developing electrode fabrication technology for improving the thermal and electrical contacts between interfaces and investigating the degradation behavior of thermoelectric modules to highly reliable power generation. We are interested in developing thermoelectric systems by integrating related heat technologies (heat transfer, heat radiation, etc.).

Figure 3
Optimization of the element assembly
Figure 4
Developed various thermoelectric modules with high efficiency, high durability, and others for purposes

③Advanced evaluation methods

One important challenge is the development of advanced evaluation technology to support fair thermoelectric market growth. We developed reference module are conducting interlaboratory testing of thermoelectric conversion in international framework.

Figure 5
Interlaboratory testing
Figure 6
Evaluation system for power generation conversion efficiency

④Bridging the technological valley of death for social implementation

We aim to commercialize thermoelectric technologies through a wide range of collaborative efforts with companies in Japan. For example, we have supported the establishment of Mottainai Energy Co., Ltd. (AIST startup company).



Imasato K.; Miyazaki, H.; Sauerschnig P.; Johari, K. K.; Ishida, T.; Yamamoto, A.; Ohta, M.;, Achieving Compatible p/n-Type Half-Heusler Compositions in Valence Balanced/Unbalanced Mg 1–xVx NiSb, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces. 2024, 16, 11637

Published FEB 26 2024
<u>Ohta, M.</u>, <u>Jood, P.</u>, <u>Imasato, K.</u> (2023). Sulfide Thermoelectrics. Book Author(s): Akinaga, H., Kosuga, A., Mori, T., Ardila, G. Thermoelectric Micro/Nano Generators 1: Fundamental Physics, Materials and Measurements. 10.1002/9781394256419.ch4

Ohta, M., Jood, P., Imasato, K. (2023). Sulfide Thermoelectrics. Book Author(s): Akinaga, H., Kosuga, A., Mori, T., Ardila, G. Thermoelectric Micro/Nano Generators 1: Fundamental Physics, Materials and Measurements. 10.1002/9781394256419.ch4

Le Tonquesse, S.; Bouteiller, H.; Matsushita, Y.; Cortez, A.; Bux, S. K.; Imasato, K.; Ohta, M.; Halet, J.-F.; Mori, T.; Gascoin, F.; Berthebaud, D., Enhanced High-Temperature Thermoelectric Performance of Yb4Sb3 via Ce/Bi Co-doping and Metallic Contact Deposition for Device Integration, ACS Appl. Energ. Mater. 2023, 6, 10088-10097

Published SEP 22 2023

Hagiwara T.; Suekuni K.; Lemoine P.; Prestipino C.; Elkaim E.; Supka A.R.; AL Orabi R.A.R.; Fornari M.; Guilmeau E.; Raveau B. ;Saito H.; Sauerschnig P. ;Ohta M.; Kanemori Y.; Ohtaki M., Pseudobinary Approach to the Discovery and Design of Copper-Based Sulfides, Chem. Mat. 2023, 35, 7554–7563

Published SEP 14 2023