Thermoelectric materials can provide much needed clean energy by just harnessing the temperature gradient between two surfaces. However, due to the high cost of the materials and less efficiency, thermoelectricity is often thought to be not commercially viable. Now a team of scientists from the Michigan State University are claiming to have created a new material that is made using “very common materials” that are naturally-occurring and abundant, to reduce the cost of thermoelectricity.
The affordable material is made by grinding common materials into a powder and then using a combination of heat and pressure to compress them into the desired sizes. Although, some other materials are more efficient than the new one, the scientists believe that they are not ideal for generating electricity as either they are too expensive to synthesize or they are toxic.
The team now hopes that the new material can be used to harvest electricity from sources such as vehicle exhaust pipes and industrial power plants in a cost-effective fashion.