Record-breaking Energy Conversion of Waste Heat

A team of students lead by Prof. Lane Martin in Materials Science and Engineering and Prof. Chris Dames in Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley have made an important demonstration of novel waste heat to electrical energy conversion based on a process called pyroelectric energy conversion. Nearly 70 percent of the energy produced in the United States each year is wasted as heat, the discovery in question provides a thin-film system that can convert that waste heat into usable electrical energy at record-breaking levels. Leveraging new understanding of materials, novel measurement capabilities, and the production of demonstration devices, the team has produced materials with extraordinary performance that resulted in new records for pyroelectric energy conversion energy density (1.06 Joules per cubic centimeter), power density (526 Watts per cubic centimeter) and efficiency (19 percent of Carnot efficiency, which is the standard unit of measurement for the efficiency of a heat engine). This was all achieved in a solid-state heat engine which converts time-varying waste heat into electricity with no moving parts. For more details on the work, please see the full story here: http://news.berkeley.edu/2018/04/16/thin-film-converts-heat-from-electronics-into-energy/. For access to the paper, please proceed here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41563-018-0059-8 and for access to the News and Views about this work, please proceed here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41563-018-0065-x