Polymer sandwich harvests electricity from waste heat

Nearly 55 per cent of all the energy generated in the US in 2009 was lost as waste heat, according to research by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. There have been many attempts at using this waste heat to generate electricity, so far with only limited success. Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have built an energy harvester that sandwiches a layer of pyroelectric polymer between two electrodes made from different metals. Previous attempts at using pyroelectric materials to recycle waste heat have only managed to turn 2 per cent of the heat into electricity. Oak ridge researchers believe that this device could achieve an efficiency of between 10 and 30 per cent.  According to one researcher, the device can also convert heat in exhaust gases into electricity. It might even be used to capture the energy that solar cells lose as heat. Energy generation aside, the device can be used to cool laptops and data centers. Read full article at Newscientists.com

Diamonds hold secret to plate tectonics’ birth

We know that plate tectonics has been pushing new bits of crust into existence and engulfing old segments back into the bowels of the mantle for hundreds of millions of years. What we don’t know is when it all started.  A study of ancient diamonds by researchers in South Africa suggests that plate tectonics began 3 billion years ago, 1.5 billion years after our planet was born.   Read full Article at newscientist.com

 

 

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