25 July 2008 @ 14:09Convert wasted heat from engines into electricity
A group of scientists led by Joseph Heremans, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Nanotechnology at Ohio State University are working on a method to convert wasted heat, from car engines for example, into electricity. Internal combustion engines on average convert less than half of their produced energy into a usable form (for moving the vehicle and powering accessories). About 60 percent of the energy is wasted in the form of heat. The ability to capture and convert this heat into a usable form is a large step towards more efficient engines.
Previously, the most efficient material used commercially in thermoelectric power generators was an alloy called sodium-doped lead telluride, which had a rating of 0.71. The new material, thallium-doped lead telluride, has a rating of 1.5 — more than twice that of the previous leader.