Company Turns Waste Heat Into Inexpensive Usable Energy
Alphabet Energy converts waste heat to energy for about $1 a watt
Of the enormous 100 quadrillion BTUs of energy the United States uses each year, 55 to 60 quads are lost as waste heat from machines and industrial operations. Now, a California energy company believes it has the technology to take that waste heat and convert it to electrical energy for about $1 a watt.
Alphabet Energy has developed a thermoelectric semiconductor made chiefly from silicon nanowires. This new semiconductor can convert waste heat into electricity for about 1/20th the cost of previous heat chips made with bismuth telluride.
Alphabet Energy's technology has earned them a $1 million grant from Claremont Creek Ventures and the CalCef Energy Fund. Alphabet is confident enough in the new waste heat conversion technology to put it to the test in a prototype plant scheduled to be operational within about a year and then into the commercial market within two years after that.
Industrial manufacturers are likely to be Alphabet Energy's first commercial customers followed by the auto industry. Alphabet Energy estimates that its waste heat conversion device could be a $200 billion market with a lower price tag than solar energy.