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New material breaks world record for turning heat into electricity

A new type of material generates electrical current very efficiently from temperature differences. This allows sensors and small processors to supply themselves with energy wirelessly.

Thermoelectric materials can convert heat into electrical energy. This is due to the so-called Seebeck effect: If there is a temperature difference between the two ends of such a material, electrical voltage can be generated and current can start to flow. The amount of electrical energy that can be generated at a given temperature difference is measured by the so-called ZT value: The higher the ZT value of a material, the better its thermoelectric properties.

The best thermoelectrics to date were measured at ZT values of around 2.5 to 2.8. Scientists at TU Wien (Vienna) have now succeeded in developing a completely new material with a ZT value of 5 to 6. It is a thin layer of iron, vanadium, tungsten and aluminum applied to a silicon crystal.

W Resources Plc (LON:WRES) engages in the exploration and development of tungsten, tin, copper, and gold properties.

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Disclaimer: Statements in this article should not be considered investment advice, which is best sought directly from a qualified professional.