How to harness heat to produce useful energy is a major focus of many researchers and engineers — and one that lies at the heart of optimizing the usefulness of the heat-producing E-Cat. We have discussed in earlier posts some of the challenges of using the E-Cat’s heat and readers here have submitted some very interesting ideas and observations on the subject (thank you!).
A reader on Rossi’s web site brought his attention to recent work that has been done at Caltech where researchers have developed a thermocouple that is twice as efficient as current technology and which is able to harvest energy at temperatures found in waste heat from automobiles. Caltech faculty associate G. Jeffrey Snyder projects that this technology could use heat from a car’s tailpipe to charge the car’s battery and provide fuel savings of ten per cent.
Andrea Rossi seems especially interested in this development. He explains that he has done much work in the thermocouple field and knows how difficult it is to develop reliable products in this field.
He said, “I made with my hands thermocouples with a very particular directional fusion I had invented, obtaining a 100 watts set very, very good, tested in the University of New Hampshire in 1998, but to do it I worked 3 months full time: thermocouples are very refined metallurgy applied to electronics. If few atoms get a wrong position, a semiconductor becomes a resistance. When we tried to manufacture t.e. for Seebeck Effect in bulk quantities, to have acceptable costs, we got big problems and the figure of merit is fallen from an efficiency of 20% to a 1-2%.”
An efficient thermocouple would be a tremendous advantage when trying to produce electricity from an E-Cat since it is a solid state device with no moving parts which eliminates all the engineering involved in using steam to drive turbines, steam engines, etc.
Rossi recognizes the potential of what the Caltech research could means saying “Now: it appears the Caltech team has resolved the problems. I am delighted to know this, sure I will immediately test their application to the E-Cats as soon as the product will be in the market.
Thank you for this very interesting information.”