One of the biggest reasons incandescent bulbs aren’t that efficient in converting electricity to lighting is that they waste a lot of the energy they consume as heat. While modern lighting devices such as CFLs and LEDs reduce that heat waste and emit more light using less energy, fluorescent tubes, which are still one of the most widely used form of lighting, release a considerable amount of heat, which is simply wasted.
Industrial designers Shuguang Li and Xiaoping Chen are now trying to bring that heat waste into good use by coming up with the Heat Electricity Conversion Storage Device. As the name suggests, the concept device makes use of a thermoelectric conversion material that harvests heat and uses it to create electricity, which is then stored inside a battery.
All the user has to do is to attach one such device to a fluorescent tube and when fully charged it can be used to recharge a range of handheld devices such as smartphones, GPS units and digital cameras, via a built-in USB socket. The designers, however, remain silent on how long would such a device actually take to store enough energy to recharge a smartphone.