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Pulsed heat sources make thermoelectric devices more efficient

21-Mar-2013

Scientists studying how thermoelectric power generators can be used to ‘scavenge’ electricity from waste industrial heat have discovered that the devices work more efficiently when they are pulsed with periodic waves of heat, rather than subjected to a constant heat source.

Thermoelectric generators convert heat into electricity directly, and do not feature any moving parts. They show great promise for electricity generation in factories, power plants, cars and even with solar conversion reactions.

A great deal of research effort has gone into enhancing the efficiency of the devices, but this approach represents a cost-effective route towards even better performance.

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