IIT Mandi Develops Technology to Convert Heat Energy into Electricity

IIT Mandi researchers in Himachal Pradesh are developing thermoelectric materials that can efficiently convert heat into electricity.A research team led by Ajay Soni, Associate Professor (Physics) with the School of Basic Sciences, IIT Mandi.

IIT Mandi Research to Convert Heat Energy into Eletricity

Researchers at IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Mandi, Himachal Pradesh are all set to efficiently convert heat into electricity by developing Thermoelectric materials. The research team is headed by an Associate Professor of Physics from the School of Basic Sciences at IIT Mandi, Ajay Soni. The team is studying and comprehending the kind of materials that can convert Heat Energy into Electrical Energy.

The research team is engaged in research on materials that can be classified as ideal thermoelectric materials. The researches have been able to fetch the attention of the media by having their papers on the research published in reputed journals. Some of the peer-reviewed international journals include Physical Review B, Applied Physics Letters and Journal of Alloys and Compounds.

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While talking about the research project, Mr. Soni, the head of the research team said that thermoelectric substances mainly work on the principle of Seebeck effect. According to the effect, the cause of electricity generation is the temperature differences that are present across the junction of two materials. He also said that an ideal thermoelectric material possesses the properties of electrical conductivity, low thermal conductivity, and high thermoelectric power and should be capable enough to maintain a temperature gradient. This combination of trifecta properties is hard to come by, he said.

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Other than solar power, that has garnered a lot of attention, there are other sources that might be less known but can be proved equally promising. Power generation from heat is actually a very great concept as human activities generate a lot of energy. For instance, in things like automobiles, power plants, home appliances, etc, most of the heat goes to waste. In fact, about 70% of the total global energy gets wasted as heat. This heat is then released into the environment adding up to the effects of global warming. If this heat is trapped and converted into something useful and much needed as electricity, it can help preserve the environment.

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