Utilizing industrial waste heat to electrical energy

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Waste heat from industrial processes many wasted and cause a lot of losses that would be of great value if it can be converted into useful energy. Researchers at the Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are developing technology to convert waste heat energy from industrial processes into electricity.

Led by Scott Hunter, the team hopes to cut the money in the industry by utilizing the process efficiencies and fuel economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The team attempted to achieve 10 to 30 percent efficiency using arrays of cantilevered energy converters that feature fast response and cycle times.

Researchers assume that the heat from computer chips in large amount can cause a source of global warming. The concept using pyroelectricity which has devised out cantilever like structures, that are to be attached to chips, with a density of thousand devices per chip. The micro-electro-mechanical pyroelectric capacitor in the device allows current to flow in alternate directions when heated and cooled and generate electricity.

The very small devices, only one millimetre square per device can produce 1-10 milliwatts of electricity which could be larger if use many devices accumulated to run a sensor.

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