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MSU: Catching waste energy with common materials

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm •  Published: December 2, 2012

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Researchers at Michigan State University are working on a new low-cost approach to recapturing the heat energy that is lost in car exhaust and many other industrial processes, in search of a way to improve efficiency and decrease waste.

The team is using a material based on very common naturally occurring minerals called tetrahedrites to make thermoelectric materials that have the ability to convert heat into electricity.

Project leader professor Don Morelli says his group has managed to synthesize "highly efficient thermoelectric materials" using common materials, pointing toward lower-cost ways to catch waste energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy is financing the research, which involves a partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory; the University of Michigan; UCLA; and Northwestern, Ohio State, and Wayne State universities.