Waste heat for powering home appliances, automobiles

Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 24

Indian scientists have found a new lead-free material which can efficiently convert waste heat to power small home appliances and automobiles.

So far, most of the efficient thermoelectric materials developed by scientists use lead as a major constituent element, thereby restricting their use for mass-market applications.

Scientists from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research have identified a lead-free material called Cadmium doped Silver Antimony Telluride which can efficiently allow recovery of electricity from “waste heat”, marking a paradigm shift in the thermoelectric puzzle, the Ministry of Science and Technology announced today.

Thermoelectric energy conversion allows generation of electrical voltage when one end of a material is heated while keeping the other side cold.

Finding an efficient material to realise this scientific principle has been a daunting task for scientists. It entails fitting in three seemingly different properties — high electrical conductivity of metals, high thermoelectric sensitivity of semiconductors and low thermal conductivity of glasses — into a single material.

The team used an advanced electron microscopy technique to visualise the resultant ordering of atoms in nanometer scale.

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