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This New Material Can Convert Waste Heat Into Energy

With the passage of time, waste is only increasing in the world. In addition, a lack of proper disposal systems of the waste is creating more problems. It is one of the reasons why landfills seem to expand at an exponential rate. There are no significant changes in the consumption patterns of the masses either. People continue to engage in activities that are not sustainable and use materials that cannot be reused or recycled entirely. It is not only physical waste that is being wasted. Heat is also being wasted around us and can be used to achieve sustainability.

This leaves the planet in a considerably appalling condition. If astute and austere measures are not taken promptly, circumstances will turn wretched with no way of reversal. This is why scientists and researchers are working relentlessly to solve the waste problem we are encountering.

According to a press release, the researchers from Northwestern University and Seoul National University have joined hands to find a pragmatic solution for the problem discussed above. They have developed a thermoelectric material that is highly functional and efficient.

The technology will convert waste into heat energy, essentially. In the preliminary tests, there were a few issues related to the oxidation of the materials. However, they have been eliminated and the conversion rate is recorded to be quite high as reported in the journal of Nature Materials.

The phenomenon behind this technology is that it creates electrical voltages from changes in temperature. The applications of this technology are not very vast and can only be observed in a limited number of cases. For example, such a technology is used to power NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars.

The scientists are aiming to find a low-cost material that has more efficiency and more applications in the field. This technology has the potential of recycling the energy caused by the creation of temperature gradient in materials. Otherwise, this energy is wasted. The ZT number is the figure of merit to measure the efficiency of a material. The bigger the number, the higher the efficiency. The ZT number of this technology is measured to b 3.1. It is speculated that this can be used in automobiles, or heavy manufacturing industries such as glass and brick making, refineries, coal- and gas-fired power plants.