Researchers convert waste heat into electricity using nanowires, according to a study published on June 1, 2018.
This study was conducted by the researchers at the University of Warwick in collaboration with the Universities of Cambridge and Birmingham. Researchers have used one dimensional atomically thin nanomaterials to convert waste heat into electricity. This development will provide a new way of generating sustainable energy. According to the researchers, the most effective thermoelectric materials can be identified by changing them into the thinnest possible nanowires.
Thermoelectric materials are known for its efficiency in collecting waste heat and converting it into electricity and is a renewable and environmentally friendly source of energy. Dr. Andrij Vasylenko, first author of the paper said, “In contrast to 3-dimensional material, isolated nanowires conduct less heat and more electricity at the same time. These unique properties yield unprecedented efficiency of heat-to-electricity conversion in one-dimensional materials.”
Furthermore, the crystallization of tin telluride in extremely narrow carbon nanotubes that are used as templates for the formation of these materials in their lowest dimensional form was investigated by the researchers. Research was conducted theoretically and experimentally, and a direct dependence between the size of a template and a resulting structure of a nanowire was established by the researchers. Moreover, they demonstrated how this technique can be used for the regulation of the thermoelectric efficiency of tin telluride formed into nanowires 1-2 atoms in diameter.
This research will be useful in the development of a new generation of thermoelectric generators and will aid in exploring different materials for thermoelectrics from the large number of non-toxic elements available. Furthermore, nanostructuring is an easy method to meet the growing demand for both miniaturization and enhanced efficiency of thermoelectrics.