According to a report released by the Vienna university of technology. A new type of material generates electrical current very efficiently from temperature differences.
This allows sensors and small processors to supply themselves with energy by means of wireless transmission
The research based on Thermoelectric materials that converts heat into usable electrical energy uses the so-called Seebeck effect.
Which basically means If there is a temperature difference between the two ends of such a material, electrical voltage can be generated and a current can start to flow.
The amount of electrical energy that can be generated at a given temperature difference is measured by the so-called ZT value. The higher the ZT value of a material, the better its thermoelectric properties.
The best ZT to date were measured at around 2.5 to 2.8. Scientists at TU Wien (Vienna) have now succeeded in developing a completely new material with a ZT value of 5 to 6. It is a thin layer of iron, vanadium, tungsten and aluminium applied to a silicon crystal.
The new material is so effective that it may be possible be used as an energy source for sensors or even small computer processors.
So instead of connecting small electrical devices to cables, they could generate their own electricity from temperature differences.
The new material has now been presented in the journal Nature.