Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breakthrough in converting heat waste to electricity: Automotive, chemical, brick and glass industries could benefit from discovery

Date:
January 18, 2011
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
Researchers have placed nanocrystals of strontium telluride into lead telluride, creating a material that can harness electricity from heat-generating items such as vehicle exhaust systems, industrial processes and equipment and sun light more efficiently than scientists have seen in the past.

By placing nanocrystals of rock salt into lead telluride, researchers have created a material that can harness electricity from heat-generating items such as vehicle exhaust systems.
Credit: iStockphoto/Steven Wilson

Researchers at Northwestern University have placed nanocrystals of strontium telluride into lead telluride, creating a material that can harness electricity from heat-generating items such as vehicle exhaust systems, industrial processes and equipment and sun light more efficiently than scientists have seen in the past.

The material exhibits a high thermoelectric figure of merit that is expected to enable 14 percent of heat waste to electricity, a scientific first. Chemists, physicists and material scientists at Northwestern collaborated to develop the material. The results of the study are published by the journal Nature Chemistry.

"It has been known for 100 years that semiconductors have this property that can harness electricity," said Mercouri Kanatzidis, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry in The Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. "To make this an efficient process, all you need is the right material, and we have found a recipe or system to make this material."

Kanatzidis, co-author of the study, and his team dispersed nanocrystals of strontium telluride (SrTe) into the material lead telluride (PbTe). Past attempts at this kind of nanoscale inclusion in bulk material have improved the energy conversion efficiency of lead telluride, but the nano inclusions also increased the scattering of electrons, which reduced overall conductivity. In this study, the Northwestern team offers the first example of using nanostructures in lead telluride to reduce electron scattering and increase the energy conversion efficiency of the material.

"We can put this material inside of an inexpensive device with a few electrical wires and attach it to something like a light bulb," said Vinayak Dravid, professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and co-author of the paper. "The device can make the light bulb more efficient by taking the heat it generates and converting part of the heat, 10 to 15 percent, into a more useful energy like electricity."

The automotive, chemical, brick, glass and any industry that uses heat to make products could make their system more efficient with the use of this scientific breakthrough, said Kanatzidis, who also has a joint appointment at the Argonne National Laboratory.

"The energy crisis and the environment are two major reasons to be excited about this discovery, but this could just be the beginning," Dravid said. "These types of structures may have other implications in the scientific community that we haven't thought of yet, in areas such as mechanical behavior and improving strength or toughness. Hopefully others will pick up this system and use it."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. The original article was written by Erin White. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kanishka Biswas, Jiaqing He, Qichun Zhang, Guoyu Wang, Ctirad Uher, Vinayak P. Dravid, Mercouri G. Kanatzidis. Strained endotaxial nanostructures with high thermoelectric figure of merit. Nature Chemistry, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nchem.955

Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "Breakthrough in converting heat waste to electricity: Automotive, chemical, brick and glass industries could benefit from discovery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118143228.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2011, January 18). Breakthrough in converting heat waste to electricity: Automotive, chemical, brick and glass industries could benefit from discovery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118143228.htm
Northwestern University. "Breakthrough in converting heat waste to electricity: Automotive, chemical, brick and glass industries could benefit from discovery." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118143228.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Commercial aircraft deliveries rose seven percent at Boeing, prompting the aerospace company to boost full-year profit guidance- though quarterly revenues missed analyst estimates. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Car Market on the Rebound?

Europe's Car Market on the Rebound?

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Daimler kicks off a round of second-quarter earnings results from Europe's top carmakers with a healthy set of numbers - prompting hopes that stronger sales in Europe will counter weakness in emerging markets. Hayley Platt reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins