Research

Found a new way to turn heat into electricity

For a long time, mankind has been ableturn one type of energy into another. Say, when coal is burned, heat is generated 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 allows the car to drive. But progress does not stand still and scientists are regularly in search of new ways to obtain energy, which we inform you about on the site and in our Telegram channel. So, most recently, a team of experts from the United States introduced a new way to turn heat into electricity. And he must be said to be very extravagant.

Science provides a ton of ways to get energy. Sometimes from sources we didn’t even know about

How to turn heat into electricity

According to the editors of the publication EurikAlert, whichCiting a study published in the journal Science Advances, a group of scientists from Ohio State University came up with how to capture heat and turn it into electricity. Moreover, any heat source can be used for this: from the heat dissipated from industrial plants and to car exhausts.

Thanks to our discovery, we can potentiallyuse resources more efficiently and get more electrical energy from heat, ”said co-author Joseph Heremans, a professor of mechanics and aerospace engineering who also works in nanotechnology research at Ohio State University. Until now, no one thought that something like this is possible in principle.

The discovery is based on the phenomenon of electromagnetism(which has been known for a long time). A simple example: when one side of a magnet heats up, the other side stays cold and builds up its potential. Due to the increase in potential, an excess of energy appears, which can be converted into electricity. But there is one problem. When heated, magnets “lose their magnetic strength” and are demagnetized, so roughly speaking, a magnet can be used “only once” to create 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 do not lose this, roughly speaking, “magnetic force” after cessation of exposure. And, importantly, paramagnets are resistant to heat. But there is a problem: paramagnets are “very weak” compared to ordinary magnets, and until today it was believed that they are not capable of generating energy.

We found that this is not entirely true. We have found a new way to create thermoelectric semiconductors based on paramagnets. Traditional thermoelectric systems, which 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 allow the use of the resulting energy. According to scientists, electricity can be either stored in conventional batteries or immediately powered by electronic devices and components.

Under the directed influence of the magnetic field, paramagnets acquire magnetic properties

Researchers are confident that their development canIt is useful precisely in industrial production, where the losses of heat dissipated are quite high and, on such a scale, a unit for converting heat to electricity will show the greatest efficiency. For example, in steel remelting, waste heat can be used to power various plants of the plant, which will reduce the final cost of production.