Low-grade waste heat recovery scenarios: Pyroelectric, thermomagnetic, and thermogalvanic thermal energy harvesting

Sunghoon Hur, Sangtae Kim, Hyun Soo Kim, Ajeet Kumar, Choah Kwon, Joonchul Shin, Heemin Kang, Tae Hyun Sung, Jungho Ryu, Jeong Min Baik, Hyun Cheol Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Identifying reliable and sustainable sources of electricity is a significant challenge of the present time. However, most energy-generation mechanisms produce unavoidable low-grade waste heat as a byproduct while harvesting (or converting) electrical energy from conventional or renewable energy sources. Each year, over 60% of the primary energy is wasted as heat. Accordingly, considerable efforts are being made to convert this waste heat into usable electrical energy using diverse energy conversion materials. In this review, three actively investigated energy conversion mechanisms beyond thermoelectrics, i.e., (1) pyroelectric, (2) thermomagnetic, and (3) thermogalvanic generators, are reviewed and compared from the viewpoint of fundamental theories, critical parameters for high energy conversion efficiency, and current status of materials and devices. The challenges and opportunities in low-grade waste-heat recovery are discussed in terms of material science and structural design. This review provides an overview of the current progress in thermal-energy-harvesting research, future challenges, and opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108596
JournalNano Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Sept

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
S.H. and S.K. contributed equally to this work. S.H., H.-S.K., J. S., J.M.B and H.-C.S. would like to acknowledge the support from the National R&D Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT ( NRF-2021R1C1C1009100 , NRF-2020M3H4A3105594 ) and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology ( 2E32491 , 2E32524 , 2E32543 , 2V09293 ). A. K. and J. R. acknowledges the support from the National Research Foundation of Korea ( NRF-2023R1A2C2005864 ). S.K., C. K., and S.T.H. acknowledges support from the Hanyang University ( HY-202100000002985 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors


  • Low grade waste heat
  • Pyroelectric
  • Thermal energy harvesting
  • Thermogalvanic
  • Thermomagnetic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Materials Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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