Investigation on Pyroelectric Ceramic Temperature Sensors for Energy System Applications Email Page
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University of Texas at El Paso
Calibration and Demonstration of<br/>wireless temperature sensing
Calibration and Demonstration of
wireless temperature sensing
Website:  University of Texas at El Paso
Award Number:  FE0011235
Project Duration:  07/01/2013 – 06/30/2016
Total Award Value:  $200,000.00
DOE Share:  $200,000.00
Performer Share:  $0.00
Technology Area:  University Training and Research
Key Technology:  Sensors

Project Description

The research team will fabricate pyroelectric ceramic films using an electrophoretic deposition process and characterize their material properties such as microstructure, morphology, and crystal structure. Pyroelectric materials generate an electric charge upon a change in temperature, and it is this effect upon which the sensor is based. Deposition by electrophoresis—the motion of dispersed particles in a fluid under uniform electric charge—has many advantages and may be achieved by a number of methods.

The wireless sensor system will be constructed using a pyroceramic and inductive coupling technique, where the current generated by the pyroceramic will, upon a change in temperature, be converted to magnetic flux that is wirelessly detected by an inductance coil. Before applying this wireless sensor system to energy systems, it will be calibrated using a commercial thermocouple as a reference. Finally, the research team will conduct torch and combustor rig testing to determine the sensor’s ability to function in the energy system. A full report of the sensor’s design, fabrication process, and characterization method will be delivered upon completion of the project.

Project Benefits

There is an increasing need to monitor processing parameters such as temperature, pressure, and flow rate in modern energy conversion systems such as coal-gasification power plants, gas turbines, and oxy-fuel combustion in order to achieve higher efficiency and lower emissions. However, these parameters must be measured in typically harsh environments (extremely high temperature, pressure, or corrosive atmospheres), resulting in a high demand for reliable, accurate, and low cost sensors. There is a greater emphasis on using wireless sensors in energy system applications in order to overcome several issues associated with wired sensors; however, most wireless sensors require expensive built-in electronics and power sources. This project will address these challenges by focusing on the development of a self-powered, low cost, wireless temperature sensor for modern energy system applications.

The proposed work may result in the development of a low cost, reliable, extremely sensitive, high-temperature, harsh environment sensor that will help increase the affordability and efficiency and reduce emissions of advanced power plants. Additionally, participating students will receive training in the development of pyroelectric ceramic temperature sensor materials under this Historically Black Colleges and Universities research program.

Goals and Objectives

The goal of the project is to develop a self-powered, low cost wireless temperature sensor capable of withstanding harsh environments. The objectives are fabrication and characterization of pyroelectric ceramic temperature sensor materials, construction of a wireless sensing system and demonstration of its temperature sensing capability, and demonstration of wireless temperature sensing and other requisite capabilities, including data transmission and durability, at the high temperatures and harsh environmental conditions in coal-based power systems.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
Briggs White:
Technology Manager 
Robert Romanosky:
Principal Investigator 
Yirong Lin:


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