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Energy from Body Heat

October 23, 2015

Our bodies produce a surprising amount of heat, which could be turned into electricity.


Nottingham Trent University

Could we turn body heat into electricity? (Nottingham Trent University)


Turning body heat to electricity. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Our bodies are very efficient at turning food into heat. And that heat can be turned into electricity. This according to University of Utah chemist Luisa Whittaker-Brooks.

LUISA WHITTAKER-BROOKS (University of Utah):

Just to give you a perspective, in one hour of just converting heat into electricity, you will have enough energy to power the planet for one year. So it’s a lot of energy that you generating in just that one hour.


Whittaker-Brooks wants to harness some of that body heat using nanomaterials that convert heat into electricity, and could be designed into clothing. Also, since photovoltaic solar cells work best when they’re cool, these nanomaterials could be used to draw heat from solar panels, allowing them to work more efficiently, while turning that heat into more electricity. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.