SUSTAINABLE ENERGY HARVESTING SYSTEMS BASED ON INNOVATIVE MINE WASTE RECYCLING
START project primary objective is to build an innovation ecosystem in the European Union (EU) based on the development of sustainable and economically viable thermoelectric (TE) waste heat harvesting systems to be applied in heavy industry and in maritime industry as well as primary power source for off-grid sensors and IoT devices. This objective will be achieved by incorporating abundant sulphides (mainly tetrahedrite mineral series), at present an environment hazard in mine tailings, collected in five European countries, in the production of advanced sulphide p-type TE thermoelements. In contrast, current commercial TE devices incorporate p-type and n-type TE thermoelements that are produced from expensive and rare elements, namely tellurium, which is predominantly sourced in China. The impact of START project approach on endorsing a more sustainable and resilient EU comes from three inputs. First, by reducing EU?s dependence on primary critical raw materials. Secondly, through the promotion of circular economy processes that will create value in EU by building a strategic ecosystem based on a high-abundant mineral. Just recently, it was demonstrated by our team that the mineral was amenable to processing to single phase p-type tetrahedrite. Thirdly, by the production of TE energy harvesting systems offering a contribution to the reduction of fossil fuels consumption with a great impact on the increase of the overall efficiency of energy production and consumption systems, as well as on the reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions. For that, START project aggregates research organizations, with strong background and knowledge on geology, materials science and renewable energies, and industrial organizations that guarantee the entire production and exploitation supply chain.