New International Doctoral Program

InnovationLab is part of HORATES, a new international doctoral program in the field of materials science, coordinated by the Ruprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg and funded by the European Commission. It is scheduled to start in spring 2021.

About HORATES - “Hybrid and ORgAnic ThermoElectricSystems”

A new international doctoral programme in materials science – coordinated by our Shareholder Heidelberg University – is receiving approximately four million euros in funding from the European Union. The project will focus on the development of organic materials suitable for converting unused waste heat into electricity. 15 young scientists will conduct research on this topic and work on their PhD projects. Besides Ruperto Carola and InnovationLab, other participants in the four-year interdisciplinary programme entitled “Hybrid and ORgAnic ThermoElectricSystems” (HORATES) include universities, research centres, and companies in Italy, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, and France. Prof. Dr. Martijn Kemerink of the Centre for Advanced Materials, the materials science research centre of Heidelberg University, is the programme’s spokesperson.

Artist impression of an organic thermogenerator, harvesting body heat to provide power to an autonomous electronic device. Image: Ella Maru Studio

Waste heat from technical devices and even heat given off by living beings is a ubiquitous source of energy and can be harnessed to produce electricity. One possible application is powering small sensors. “We intend to use a mechanism known as the thermoelectric effect to convert the energy, whereby a difference in temperature can be transformed into electrical energy,” explains Prof. Kemerink. Until now, inorganic materials have been used for converting and storing energy. Under the direction of the Heidelberg physicist, the international PhD programme will concentrate on developing organic materials, whose greater mechanical flexibility and low thermal conductivity make them potentially more efficient performers than conventional inorganic materials.

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