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MSU research has potential to harness new energy

December 3, 2012
The Mining Journal

Research a team at Michigan State University has been involved in recently has the promise to increase efficiency while decreasing waste in automobile and other engines.

According to The Associated Press, the new, low-cost approach will attempt to capture the heat that's present in car exhaust and convert it into power. A similar process could be used on power plant or home heating unit exhaust, but on a much larger scale, AP reported.

MSU researchers, working in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory; the University of Michigan; the University of California, Los Angeles, and Northwestern, Ohio State, and Wayne State universities, are using naturally occurring minerals called tetrahedrites to manufacture thermoelectric materials that have the ability to convert heat into electricity, said AP.

Researchers have synthesized certain compounds that have similar or the same composition as the natural minerals that are expensive to mine and refine, such as tetrahedrites.

A bit more modification produces, AP reports, highly thermoelectric materials that can be used to generate electricity.

No one, including the MSU team, is declaring the energy crisis has ended. But the research, which is being underwritten by the U.S. Department of Energy, is interesting, and it provides a tantalizing glimpse of great things to come.

We wish them the best and look forward to hearing more about the project in the upcoming months.



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