It is not a secret that all the electronic devices as well as many others need to get rid of excess heat. Also everyone knows that heat can be converted to energy. Now think of a technology which could turn the wasted heat into usable electricity!
That kind of waste-energy harvesting might, for example, lead to cellphones with double the talk time, laptop computers that can operate twice as long before needing to be plugged in, or power plants that put out more electricity for a given amount of fuel, says Peter Hagelstein of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The current research lead with a graduate student Denis Wu could show how close we can come to achieving the theoretical limits for the efficiency of such conversion.
“There’s a gold mine in waste heat, if you could convert it,” Hagelstein says. The first applications are likely to be in high-value systems such as computer chips, he says, but ultimately it could be useful in a wide variety of applications, including cars, planes and boats. “A lot of heat is generated to go places, and a lot is lost. If you could recover that, your transportation technology is going to work better.”
Well all we have to do is wait when our clever technology devices would harvest and convert waste-heat into electricity. My cat who likes lounging on my warm laptop won’t be very happy when that happens. But you can’t have them all, Fluffy)