Humanity has long been able to transform one kind of energy into another. For example, burning coal generates heat that can heat our homes, and in a car's internal combustion engine, hydrocarbon fuel in the form of gasoline is converted into energy that makes it possible to drive the car. However, progress does not stop and scientists are regularly looking for new ways to gain energy, which we inform you on the spot and in our telegram channel. Recently, a team of US experts presented a new way to convert heat into electricity. And he has to be called very extravagant.
How to convert heat into electricity
According to the editorial staff of EurikAlert, which refers to a study published in the journal Science Advances, a group of scientists from Ohio State University have discovered how to absorb heat and convert it into electricity. Any source of heat can be used for this: from waste heat from industrial plants to car exhaust.
With our discovery, we may be able to use resources more efficiently and gain more electrical energy from heat, "said co-author Joseph Heremans, a professor of mechanics and aerospace engineering, who also participates in nanotechnology research at Ohio State University. So far no one has thought that such a thing is possible in principle.
The discovery is based on the well-known phenomenon of electromagnetism. A simple example: When one side of a magnet heats up, the other side stays cold and builds up its potential. The increase in potential creates an energy surplus that can be converted into electricity. However, there is a problem. When heated, magnets lose "their magnetic force" and are demagnetized so that a magnet "once" can be used to generate electricity from heat.
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Here paramagnets come to the rescue. Paramagnets are substances that are magnetized under the influence of a magnetic field but, roughly speaking, do not lose the "magnetic force" after the exposure has ended. And most of all paramagnets are heat resistant. But there is a problem: Paramagnets are "very weak" compared to ordinary magnets, and until now it has been believed that they can not generate energy.
We have found that this is not true. We have found a new way to make paramagnetic thermoelectric semiconductors. Traditional thermoelectric systems that appeared about 20 years ago are too inefficient and give us too little energy.
By combining paramagnets with semiconductors, scientists have created an interesting device: on the one hand, paramagnets can generate energy by heating and cooling. On the other hand, semiconductor materials enable the use of the resulting energy. According to scientists, electricity can either be stored in conventional batteries or fed immediately by electronic devices and components.
Researchers are confident that their development can be particularly beneficial in industrial production where heat loss losses are quite high and on such a scale a unit of heat to electricity conversion has the greatest efficiency. For example, when remelting steel, the waste heat can be used to power various plants in the plant, thereby lowering final production costs.