Heat energy is one of the most wasted forms of energy sources around, and for many years researchers have been trying to solve this problem. While the technology to convert heat energy into useful energy is there (thermoelectric energy), it is highly inefficient at the moment; with only a fraction of the heat energy being converted into something useful.
Well it looks like the folks over at Panasonic have come up with a solution. Using thermoelectric tubes, they have managed to create a simple, compact and efficient system to capture wasted heat from hot springs and factories. Apparently the tubular shape enables direct and efficient heat transfer without additional heat exchangers, yielding high density of generated power.
By using a 10-cm long thermoelectric tube, 1.3W of electricity can be generated from hot running water of 90 degrees C. The use of such technology will enable the development of compact power stations that generate 10kW per 1m3 which is pretty impressive. While we don’t have many hot springs we can take advantage of in the country, the amount of energy we could gain from our factories will definitely help cut down the usage of non-renewable fuels and pollution.