Exhaust Pipe Nanotube Cuffs turn Exhaust Heat Into Electricity
All that hot, hot exhaust pouring from vehicle exhaust pipes. And the heat pouring out of the exhaust stacks of power generation plants? Unbelievable. What a waste. Fortunately for the ‘green energy’ community, Ray Baughman, the director of the NanoTech Institute at the University of Texas in Dallas thinks it’s a waste, too. And he believes he has a solution.
Baughman and colleagues have developed an exhaust pipe ‘cuff’ that incorporates carbon nanotube thermocells. The cuffs harness exhaust heat and turn it into something useful –electricity.
Although thermocell technology is not new, it has been cost-prohibitive for most applications because traditional designs rely upon the use of expensive platinum electrodes. Baughman and colleagues have overcome that problem with the less expensive carbon nanotubes. Not only is the new thermocell design less expensive, it is fully three times more efficient than previous thermocell designs. The relatively large surface area of the tiny nanotubes contributes to this efficiency. The end result is a thermocell power generating system with a cost per watt similar to commercial solar cells – about $5.14 per watt.
The carbon nanotube thermocell cuff is still in the early testing stages, but the obvious potential of such a device is enough to ‘warm’ the heart of green technology supporters everywhere.