Researchers turn hot water into electricity

Researchers turn hot water into electricity
Steve Bush Recovering waste heat using thermocouples could become practicable through work at the University of Cardiff. ‘We have developed materials specifically for taking energy from hot temperature water,’ said project research associate Dr Simon Williams. The Cardiff project is supported by NEDO, the Japanese government organisation that searches for new energy sources. It is aimed at extracting power from waste hot water, in steel mills for instance, that is too cool for steam generation. ‘One of our devices has a generation density of 50kW per cubic metre of machine volume from a 80 to 90?C temperature difference in water,’ said Williams. One of the materials Cardiff uses extracts three times more power than bismuth telluride, said Williams. Bismuth telluride is the material used in most Peltier-effect coolers and is also employed in thermoelectric (Seebeck-effect) generators. Thermoelectric generators operating from waste hot water need minimal maintenance, said Williams, so any electricity they generate is essentially free once the initial pay-back period of ‘a few years’ is completed. A future aim is to extract useful amounts of electricity from domestic waste water.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*