For energy conversion pursuits, of green sources such as solar panels as well – this results in extra heat generation. However, as much as 72 percent of the heat generated is unused thus there lies great potential to harvest it for electricity.
An initiative undertaken by a researcher at the University of Alberta has successfully led to find the chemistry to harvest the extra heat.
Ultimately, this finding could speed up the development of thermoelectric materials. According to material knowledge, if products made of thermoelectric materials are attached to something such as a solar panel system, they can recover waste heat and can be used to generate electric current.
For the research, the researcher employed two self-developed machine learning models and could narrow down the chemical makeup of a group of alloys that could be suitable to create those materials.
In fact, thermoelectric materials can be used to harvest energy from personal electronic devices such as computer servers and cellphones. Besides this, thermoelectric materials can recover heat produced from combustion, use heat generated by the body that can power devices such as pacemakers and improve the efficiency of alternative sources of energy such as solar and geothermal.
If unused heat can be turned into something such as usable electricity, improvements can be made for energy efficiency on a global scale.
Meanwhile, the materials that the researcher worked with are proving to be successful in the field due to their mechanical strength, stability, and efficiency. Despite this, the chemical makeup of thermoelectric materials pose a challenge.
Structurally, thermoelectric materials are crystalline substances made up of certain elements in a certain ratio and are arranged in a specific way.