Ca3AlSb3: An inexpensive, non-toxic thermoelectric material for waste heat recovery

Alex Zevalkink, Eric S. Toberer, Wolfgang G. Zeier, Espen Flage-Larsen, G. Jeffrey Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations


Thermoelectric materials directly convert thermal energy into electrical energy, offering a promising solid-state solution for waste heat recovery. For thermoelectric devices to make a significant impact on energy and the environment the major impediments are the efficiency, availability and toxicity of current thermoelectric materials. Typically, efficient thermoelectric materials contain heavy elements such as lead and tellurium that are toxic and not earth abundant. Many materials with unusual structures containing abundant and benign elements are known, but remain unexplored for thermoelectric applications. In this paper we demonstrate, with the discovery of high thermoelectric efficiency in Ca3AlSb3, the use of elementary solid-state chemistry and physics to guide the search and optimization of such materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-518
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution


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