Creating Electricity from Waste Heat

The majority of wasted energy in the world is wasted as heat. In your car engine, in your macbook, your fluorescent light bulbs, your computer’s power supply. Heat leaks from electrical and mechanical devices and there is no way to stop it.

Or is there. We at EcoGeek have already reported on Petier devices, which extract electricity from hot surfaces. Unfortunately they’re currently either too inefficient or too expensive to be practical.

But Oresk Symko, a physicist at the University of Utah has created a heat-to-electricity device that operates on a completely different principle. By converting the heat to sound waves, and then the sound waves to electricity using piezoelectric substances, Symko says that he can convert heat to electricity very efficiently.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t tell us how efficiently, at least, not anywhere I could find. However, I do know that piezo-electric materials are very expensive, so I worry about the cost-effectiveness of the project.

But, if he can make it work, and cheaply, then his devices will likely be showing up everywhere from solar arrays to electric vehicle batteries.

Hat tip to David.  Via LiveScience