Crystals that generate electricity from heat
To convert heat into electricity, easily accessible materials from harmless raw materials open up new perspectives in the development of safe and inexpensive so-called: thermoelectric materials.
The novel synthetic material is composed of Copper, Manganese, Germanium, and Sulfur, and it is produced in a rather simple process.
However, thermoelectric devices used to date make use of expensive and toxic elements such as Lad and Tellurium, which offer the best conversion efficiency. To find safer alternatives, The team have turned to derivatives of natural Copper-based sulfide minerals. These mineral derivatives are mainly composed of nontoxic and abundant elements, and some of them have thermoelectric properties.
The novel material produced is stable up to 400 degrees Celsius, a range well within the waste heat temperature range of most industries.