A Chip That Converts Heat Into Electricity

Imagine if you could take the heat generated by things we use everyday phones, laptops, cars, etc. and convert it into electricity. Well you might not have to imagine very long, University of Utah mechanical engineering associate professor Mathieu Francoeur has discovered a way to produce more electricity from heat than thought possible by creating a silicon chip that converts more thermal radiation into electricity.

Previously researchers determined that there is a theoretical limit to how much energy can be produced from heat which is known as the “blackbody limit”. However Francoeur and his team demonstrated that at the nanoscale level it’s possible to go beyond this blackbody limit.

This technology opens up the possibility to not only cool down portable devices, but also to gain as much as 50% more battery life. It can also increase the amount of electricity a solar panel can generate and help reduce the wear and tear of computer processors without needing a bulky heatsink and fan. Read the full article to learn more.


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