Researchers more than doubled the ability of a material to convert heat into electricity, which could help reduce the amount of wasted heat, and thus wasted fossil fuel, in daily activities and industries.
Researchers from Hokkaido University and their colleagues in Japan and Taiwan have improved the ability to transform wasted heat into usable electricity by significantly narrowing the space through which spread electrons move, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications.
More than 60 percent of energy produced by fossil fuels is lost as waste heat.
One way to address this problem is to convert the wasted heat into electricity, known as thermoelectric energy conversion.
However, improving the conversion rate has been difficult because of a trade-off relationship between the required properties within the material.
Thermoelectric materials convert heat into electricity when there is a temperature difference, a phenomenon known as the Seebeck effect.