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Energy Roundup

October 22, 2010

A new nano-coating for thermoelectric materials could make generating electricity from heat much more efficient.


Electricity from heat. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

All machines, from computers to cars, generate heat that’s mostly wasted. Thermoelectric materials convert heat to electricity, but not very efficiently. Now University of Arizona scientists have developed a new nano-coating they claim can produce one hundred times more voltage from the same amount of heat. They suggest that they could coat car parts, factory machinery and solar panels, cooling them off and generating electricity at the same time.

In other energy news, for hydrogen cars to become practical, they’ll need fuel tanks that can hold large amounts of hydrogen and release it as it’s needed. Researchers at Rice University report that a class of materials known as metallacarboranes can hold nearly nine percent of their weight in hydrogen—enough, they say, to make hydrogen cars practical. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.