, Volume 68, Issue 10, pp 2680–2687 | Cite as

Mg2Si-Based Materials for the Thermoelectric Energy Conversion

  • X. Cheng
  • N. Farahi
  • H. Kleinke


Thermoelectric materials are capable of converting a temperature gradient into electricity (thermoelectric power generation) and vice versa (Peltier cooling). The thermoelectric power generation has been used for decades in spacecraft, where radioactive decay provides the heat source. Additional applications under consideration are based on the utilization of waste heat, for example in automotives or the manufacturing industries. Commercial thermoelectric materials are normally based on Bi2Te3, PbTe, or possibly in the future on the so-called filled skutterudites, such as YbxCo4Sb12. The downside of these materials is that some of their major constituent elements are toxic, namely tellurium, lead, and antimony, and in part rare and expensive (ytterbium, tellurium). Mg2Si on the other hand is composed of abundant, environmentally benign elements, and thus offers a huge advantage for commercial applications. Here, we provide a review of Mg2Si-based materials for thermoelectric energy conversion, discussing how competitive these materials have become in comparison to the above-mentioned more traditional materials.


Thermoelectrics energy magnesium silicon tin bismuth 



Financial support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council is highly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, Waterloo Institute for NanotechnologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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