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New thermoelectric material could be an energy saver

November 27, 2012

By using common materials found pretty much anywhere there is dirt, a team of researchers has developed a new thermoelectric material. This is important, they said, because the vast majority of heat that is generated from, for example, a car engine, is lost through the tail pipe. It's the thermoelectric material's job to take that heat and turn it into something useful, like electricity. The researchers expect this discovery could pave the way to many new, low-cost thermoelectric generation opportunities with applications that include waste heat recovery from industrial power plants, conversion of vehicle exhaust gas heat into electricity, and generation of electricity in home-heating furnaces. The work, a partnership with Wayne State University and other institutions, is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy/Office of Science.