Thermoelectricity in the context of renewable energy sources: joining forces instead of competing
While the field of thermoelectricity continues developing, the academic world is still debating its applicability for wide-scale implementation. The main concerns revolve around its low energy conversion efficiency (5–10%), compared to photovoltaics (up to 46%), and the environmental impact of commonly used materials (e.g. Bi2Te3, PbTe). Although less scrutinized, other fields such as photoelectrochemistry and catalysis have suffered from similar drawbacks. In light of the recent developments, the question arises, if the introduction of hybrid devices combining those renewable energy sources is preferable to the current divided efforts. Several new papers bring arguments in favor of this combined approach, with an efficiency of 16% reported for a triboelectric–thermoelectric–photovoltaic water splitting cell.