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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Harvesting Heat

It seems like technology has finally wrapped its head around the idea of making use of all that wasted energy we produce. With things such as piezoelectric's being implanted into shoes to harvest our kinetic force and now a new metallic alloy that can harvest wasted heat for energy. The new alloy was developed by a team of researches at the University of Minnesota and has the ability to spontaneously generate energy as its temperature is raised even a small amount. An interesting property of the metal is that it is a phase changer which means it spontaneously changes from non-magnetic to magnetic with the addition of heat. It is expected that this metal will be used to help charge hybrids from their exhaust and the team is now working on a thin film version to collect the wasted heat from computers.

I am interested to see the advancement in these technologies as they make existing devices more efficient. One of my biggest problem with technologies, especially vehicles, is that a good bit of energy is lost in the form of heat. If this metal can start to solve that issue we could see greater efficiency in devices which in turn could take the strain off of batteries in mobile devices. So who knows, perhaps with the advancement in these new efficiency upping materials we will see a rise in the life expectancy of gadgets. I see no reason that hybrids and electric cars wouldn't benefit from this new material either. One of the biggest concerns people have with electric vehicles is that the range on a single charge is to small and there is a lack of places to charge up. There is no reason to doubt that this metal could be used to expand the range of such vehicles which in turn may create a larger group of possible buyers.

Well guys, that's my take on this new wonder metal. What are your thoughts on how this will impact society? Leave your comments in the section below and don't forget to share this post.

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