Thermoelectric materials could become as cheap as paint and able to capture 15% of thermal energy

The UK Engineer describes cheap thermoelectric material.

(H/T New Energy and Fuel)

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.

UPDATE : Current costs and thermoelectric quality are still in development.

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