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MIT: Thermoelectric materials are 1 key to energy savings
Date:11/20/2007

he fuels energy is wasted as heat. Thermoelectric systems could perhaps be used to generate electricity directly from this wasted heat. Because the amount of fuel used for transportation is such a huge part of the worlds energy use, even a small percentage improvement in efficiency can have a great impact, Dresselhaus explains. Its very practical, she says, and the car companies are getting interested.

The same materials might also play a role in improving the efficiency of photovoltaic cells, harnessing some of the suns heat as well as its light to make electricity. The key will be finding materials that have the right properties but are not too expensive to produce.

Dresselhaus and colleagues are continuing to probe the thermoelectric properties of a variety of semiconductor materials and nanostructures such as superlattices and quantum dots. Her research on thermoelectric materials is presently sponsored by NASA.


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Contact: Elizabeth Thomson
thomson@mit.edu
617-258-5402
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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