Physicists turn waste heat into energy, making engines more efficient by 25%


25/09/2010

Physicists at the University of Arizona have found a new way of processing excess heat into electricity. This technology is based on quantum effects can be applied in the production of motor vehicles, power plants, factories and solar panels, making them more effective.

What do a car engine, power plants, factories and solar panels? They all create heat - a lot of heat, which is wasted unnecessarily.

Physicists at the University of Arizona have found a way that allows you to convert this heat into electricity.

The research team, led by Associate Professor Charles Stafford, published a study in the journal ACS Nano.

"Thermoelectrics can convert heat directly into electrical energy in a device with no moving parts," - said lead author Justin Burghfield.

This development is based on the quantum principle called wave-particle duality, when the tiny objects such as electrons can behave both as particles and as waves.

"Electron - can be likened to a red sports car" - said Burghfield. "Sports car - both the red and the car, as well as the electron particle and a wave at the same time. These are the two qualities of the same object. Electrons Just for us is not so obvious as a sports car."

"We were the first who used the wave structure of the electron, for the development of concepts for the conversion of energy."

By analogy with solid-state drives, this costs the thermoelectric device with no moving parts. On the device, this is a closed system that is easy to operate and maintain.

"Enough to take a couple of electrodes and put on them a layer of these molecules," - said Burghfield. "The result is a kind of sandwich, which is a thermoelectric device. This eliminates the need for a cooling system, which means that the simplified system of care."

"Mono said that instead of Freon gas, we use electron gas," - said Stafford.

"Due to the fact that solar panels heat up, their efficiency drops," - said Stafford - "You can convert this heat into additional electricity, simultaneously cooling the panel and increasing the efficiency of the overall process."

"With a very efficient thermoelectric device based on our developments, we can feed the 200,100-watt bulbs, using the excess heat of one car," - he said. "In other words, you can increase the efficiency of the vehicle by more than 25 percent, which would be the ideal solution for hybrids, as they have already used an electric motor."

Original: Physorg


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