Thermoelectric generator wraps around hot surfaces

Penn State researchers developed a new flexible thermoelectric generator that wraps around hot surfaces and converts wasted heat into electricity more efficiently than previously possible.

When the device is placed near a heat source, such as pipes in buildings and vehicles, electrons moving from the hot side to the cold side produce an electric current.  Making the device flexible offers higher power output and efficiency because flexible devices better fit the most attractive waste heat sources.

These results provide a promising path toward cost-effective ways to convert heat waste into usable energy and have a significant impact on the development of thermal to electrical generators.

In the future, we might be wrapping similar devices around industrial power plant pipes that are hundreds of feet long. An area that large could generate kilowatts of energy from wasted heat that’s normally just being thrown away.

Do you think this technology can also be made available for personal use? Please, let us know in the comments below.

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