Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New thermocell could harvest 'waste heat' from power stations and even vehicle exhaust pipes

Date:
July 16, 2013
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
Harvesting waste heat from power stations and even vehicle exhaust pipes could soon provide a valuable supply of electricity.

A new, carbon-netural thermocell could harvest waste heat from power stations and convert it into electricity.
Credit: Doug MacFarlane and Theodore Abraham

Harvesting waste heat from power stations and even vehicle exhaust pipes could soon provide a valuable supply of electricity.

A small team of Monash University researchers working under the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) has developed an ionic liquid-based thermocell. Thermocells are based on harnessing the thermal energy from the difference in temperature between two surfaces and converting that energy into electrical energy.

Led by Monash University researcher and Australian Laureate Fellow Professor Doug MacFarlane and Monash University PhD student Theodore Abraham, the collaborative project developed the thermocell device with the highest power outputs yet reported and no carbon emissions.

The new thermocell could be used to generate electricity from low grade steam in coal fired power stations at temperatures around 130°C. This would be implemented by having the steam pass over the outer surface of the hot electrode to keep it hot while the other electrode is air or water cooled.

Professor MacFarlane said the breakthrough included the development of a novel ionic liquid-based redox electrolyte.

"We have found that it can work at elevated temperatures typical of important heat sources, as opposed to water-based systems, which cannot operate at temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius," Professor MacFarlane said.

"The device offers the possibility of a cheap and flexible design suitable for harvesting waste heat in the 100- to 200-degrees Celsius range."

PhD student Theodore Abraham said that by using heat already produced in industrial processes that would otherwise be untapped, the thermocell is an attractive method of relieving some of the present reliance on fossil fuels.

"The major benefit of a thermocell is that it harnesses energy that is already readily out there; you're just harnessing energy that is otherwise lost to surroundings," Mr Abraham said.

Mr Abraham was supervised by Dr Jenny Pringle of Deakin University who said the development was a significant achievement for a PhD student.

"The advance we made with this system was that we are generating more electrical energy than any previous power cell in this temperature range," Dr Pringle said.

ACES Director Professor Gordon Wallace said that it took a multitude of skills to tackle complex issues as encountered here.

"Our unique research environment within ACES provides an opportunity to acquire these skills in a cutting edge research environment," Dr Wallace said.

Mr Abraham's research is published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Monash University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Theodore J. Abraham, Douglas R. MacFarlane, Jennifer M. Pringle. High Seebeck coefficient redox ionic liquid electrolytes for thermal energy harvesting. Energy & Environmental Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1039/C3EE41608A

Cite This Page:

Monash University. "New thermocell could harvest 'waste heat' from power stations and even vehicle exhaust pipes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130716092752.htm>.
Monash University. (2013, July 16). New thermocell could harvest 'waste heat' from power stations and even vehicle exhaust pipes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130716092752.htm
Monash University. "New thermocell could harvest 'waste heat' from power stations and even vehicle exhaust pipes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130716092752.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) — The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — For months California has suffered from a historic drought. The lack of water is worrying for farmers and ranchers, but for gold diggers it’s a stroke of good fortune. With water levels low, normally inaccessible areas are exposed. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — With only three weeks until Minnesota's fishing opener, many are wondering if the ice will be gone. Some of the Northland lakes are still covered by up to three feet of ice, causing concern that just like last year, the lakes won't be ready. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — With Pacific ocean water already showing signs of warming, the NOAA says there's about a 66 percent chance the event will begin before November. Video provided by Newsy
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