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Old 06-28-2011, 10:42 AM
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Default New alloy converts heat directly to electricity

Generating 'green' electricity: Waste heat converted to electricity using new alloy
the new material created by the researchers begins as a non-magnetic material, then suddenly becomes strongly magnetic when the temperature is raised a small amount. When this happens, the material absorbs heat and spontaneously produces electricity in a surrounding coil.
This could be used to get electricity from waste heat or smallscale solar dishes. Pretty neat. Sadly it is "Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10", so it uses quite a lot of Cobalt in addition to Nickel - not yet a problem in respect to resource depletion, but certainly one in terms of environmental and humanitarian impact as major producers are African countries with inadequate protection regulations. Cobalt is a rather rare element, which means a lot of material has to be processed to extract it (=vast open pit mines consuming a lot of energy) and the extraction and processing is not exactly eco-friendly or healthy for the workers. Cobalt and nickel reserves however are said to last for some more decades.
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Last edited by auroraglacialis; 06-28-2011 at 10:55 AM.
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