We use the same kind of mill they use to make paint, it’s a well-established technique, it can be upscaled and it’s cheap, so that’s important.
Calculations suggest it could recover around 15 per cent of all energy losses in a variety of scenarios – and commercial production potential looks probable. The team is already in talks with a major automotive manufacturer (GM in the U.S.) with a view to placing the material in the exhausts of cars.
Over half of all energy in the world is lost in useless waste heat. A car engine for example, only utilizes about 30 percent of the energy; the rest is lost as heat. Recovering 15% of the 70% earns back 10.5% for a total efficiency of 40.5%, a 33% improvement. Replacing the alternator in vehicles with a thermoelectric collector would also cut the load, saving even more. It would be like $3 gasoline getting $4 of work done.