New alloy converts waste heat into green energy

Washington, June 23 (IANS) A new alloy that can convert heat directly into electricity would open an entirely new way of generating power.

Researchers from the College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota, say the material could potentially trap waste heat from car’s exhaust to produce electricity for battery charging in a hybrid car.

This revolutionary energy conversion method is under development, but it could create a sweeping impact on generating green electricity from waste heat sources, reports the journal Advanced Energy Materials.

Other possible future uses include capturing rejected heat from industrial and power plants or temperature differences in the ocean to create electricity. The research team is looking into possible commercialisation of the technology, according to a Minnesota statement.

‘This research is very promising because it presents an entirely new method for energy conversion that’s never been done before,’ said Minnesota’s aerospace engineering and mechanics professor Richard James, who led the research team.

‘It’s also the ultimate ‘green’ way to create electricity because it uses waste heat to create electricity with no carbon dioxide,’ he said.

Researchers combined elements at the atomic level to create a new multiferroic alloy, Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10 — that is nickel, cobalt, manganese and tin. Multiferroic materials combine unusual elastic, magnetic and electric properties.