Nanocrystal-Coated Fibers help save energy

Researchers from Purdue University in West Lafayette have developed an efficient nanotechnology to convert wasted heat energy to generate electricity.

Waste heat refers to heat produced by machines, vehicles, electrical equipement and industrial processes for which no useful application can be found and is therefore regarded as a waste-by product. 58 percent of the energy generated in the United States is wasted as heat, according to Yeu Wu, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Purdue University. He adds: “If we could get just 10 percent back that would allow us to reduce energy consumption and power plant emissions considerably.”

We, from Green Turbine, totally agree. So what has Purdue University developed? Researchers have coated glass fibers with a new “thermoelectric” material. The new material comprises of lead telluride that takes the form of nanocrystals. When thermoelectric materials are heated on one side electrons flow to the cooler side, generating an electrical current. The crystals are coated onto glass fibers to make it more flexible and cost-efficient. Such fibers could be wrapped around industrial pipes in factories and power plants, as well as on car engines and automotive exhaust systems, to recapture much of the wasted energy to make it more fuel efficient. The “energy harvesting” technology might dramatically reduce how much heat is lost.

Another potential application for this product is to use it in buildings for air conditioning. Through a reverse process, the nanofiber material could absorb heat representing a possible solid-state air-conditioning method., Wu said.

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Source: Clean Technica (


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