of all energy produced is lost as heat. Global energy consumption is around 104,000 terawatt hours, which means 208,000 terawatt hours are lost as heat. Converting lost heat back into usable energy therefore presents itself as a great opportunity.
Even if this small percent of the above mentioned waste heat is converted into electricity at the cost of 10 cents per kWh, that's a $1 trillion a year industry, according to Matt Scullin, CEO of California based startup Alphabet Energy.
homes in the U.S. could be powered by the electricity produced if waste heat recovery devices were used at every oil, gas and manufacturing plant. And the additional bonus benefit of offsetting the need for the same amount of energy to be produced using fossil fuels.
devices that Alphabet Energy has developed which they claim are the most efficient thermoelectric devices ever created. These devices are being tried on major sources of waste heat such as combustion exhaust from power plants and vehicles. The 3 devices are:
PowerCard: A small device the size of a tortilla chip that contains a common and cheap mineral called tetrahedrite. The PowerCard is made to be used with heat exhaust at temperatures between 572 and 1112 degrees Fahrenheit. One PowerCard can generate 9.2 watts of power simply by being exposed to pressurized hot air.
PowerModule: 100 PowerCards combined into a fully-enclosed thermoelectric generator about the size of an extra-large pizza box. In a vehicle, the device could be placed directly in the exhaust system with hot air going in one end and out the other all while it converts the waste heat into electricity that is fed back into the vehicle, bumping up the mileage by 5 percent.
E1 System: For larger applications, the system is built into an ocean freight-sized container and suited for heavy manufacturing and larger industrial waste heat conversion.