Generating electrical power from waste heat
Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories have developed a tiny silicon-based device that can harness what was previously called waste heat and turn it into DC power.
Their advance was recently published in Physical Review Applied.
Principal investigator and Physicist, Paul Davids said: “We have developed a new method for essentially recovering energy from waste heat.
Car engines produce a lot of heat and that heat is just waste, right?
So imagine if you could convert that engine heat into electrical power for a hybrid car. This is the first step in that direction, but much more work needs to be done.”
He continued:”In the short term we are looking to make a compact infrared power supply, perhaps to replace radioisotope thermoelectric generators.”
Called RTGs, the generators are used for such tasks as powering sensors for space missions that do not get enough direct sunlight to power solar panels.”
David’s device is made of common and abundant materials, such as aluminium, silicon and silicon dioxide — or glass — combined in very uncommon ways.