The students of the University of Minnesota have invented a new alloy that has the characteristic to convert heat into power. This alloy is engineered in such a way that it produces strong magnetic power when heated for a few minutes. Finally, the magnet can generate electricity in a coil. According to the University of Minnesota aerospace engineering and mechanics professor Richard James, this research works will pave a new way for creating green electricity with no carbon dioxide emission.
The multiferroic alloy with chemical name Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10 is composed of elements at the atomic level. The material has unique electric, magnetic, and elastic properties. During initial stage of heating the alloy doesn’t display magnetic property. However, it behaves like a magnet as the temperature is raised slowly. The heat is converted into electricity, but some energy is lost during process which is termed as hysteresis. The team is working on the technique to reduce wastage of energy because of hysteresis.
This type of feature can be used for several other purposes. One reason is that it can save lots of heat which gets wasted in the environment. Almost all applications produce waste heat, for example a car engine if coiled with this material, can produce enough electricity to charge a battery. Hence, one will be able to manufacture more hybrid cars. Similarly, if computers are to be equipped with same material that converts heat into power, it can cut off the electricity bills. The scientists are planning to use this material to harness electricity by exploiting temperature differences in the ocean.
Why not implement the technique of converting heat into power by using various sources that produce waste heat? It is really economical as well as environment friendly.