A Japanese researcher and N.T.S Co Ltd developed a power generation device that can generate electricity (1.5V, several milliamperes) from heat lower than 100°C.
This was announced June 18, 2014. The researcher is Yasushi Murakami, professor at the Faculty of Textile Science and Technology, Shinshu University. This time, they demonstrated the device by lighting LED lamps at the university.
Its power generation mechanism is still being studied, but Murakami considers that the device has a totally new mechanism that are different from the mechanisms of chemical and semiconductor cells.
"To speedily find the mechanism and commercialize the device, we dared to announce it," he said.
As power generation devices using heat, there are thermoelectric transducers using Seebeck effect. However, Murakami considers that the new device does not use Seebeck effect because it generates electricity without a temperature difference.
The new power generation device has a simple structure made by mixing zinc compound, dielectric compound and conductive polymer with appropriate ratios as active materials between aluminum alloy and copper alloy electrodes. A cell was prototyped by using 1g of the active material (1 x 1cm) and used to power LED lamps in a demonstration. Specifically, three red LED lamps were lit by using a dryer to blow hot air to the cell, and, then, a blue LED lamp was lit in the same way.
The three red LED lamps were lit soon after the hot air hit the cell. When the temperature of the cell reached about 100°C, the output of the cell was about 0.88mW (1.56V, 0.57mA).
Speaking of the reason why the development of the device started, N.T.S said, "We observed a voltage and weak current with a material that we were developing."
N.T.S is specialized in technologies to dope materials and sells special titanium oxide powder materials, etc.