• 2 days Shell Oil Trading Head Steps Down After 29 Years
  • 2 days Higher Oil Prices Reduce North American Oil Bankruptcies
  • 2 days Statoil To Boost Exploration Drilling Offshore Norway In 2018
  • 2 days $1.6 Billion Canadian-US Hydropower Project Approved
  • 2 days Venezuela Officially In Default
  • 2 days Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations
  • 2 days Keystone Pipeline Leaks 5,000 Barrels Into Farmland
  • 3 days Saudi Oil Minister: Markets Will Not Rebalance By March
  • 3 days Obscure Dutch Firm Wins Venezuelan Oil Block As Debt Tensions Mount
  • 3 days Rosneft Announces Completion Of World’s Longest Well
  • 3 days Ecuador Won’t Ask Exemption From OPEC Oil Production Cuts
  • 3 days Norway’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Proposes To Ditch Oil Stocks
  • 3 days Ecuador Seeks To Clear Schlumberger Debt By End-November
  • 3 days Santos Admits It Rejected $7.2B Takeover Bid
  • 4 days U.S. Senate Panel Votes To Open Alaskan Refuge To Drilling
  • 4 days Africa’s Richest Woman Fired From Sonangol
  • 4 days Oil And Gas M&A Deal Appetite Highest Since 2013
  • 4 days Russian Hackers Target British Energy Industry
  • 4 days Venezuela Signs $3.15B Debt Restructuring Deal With Russia
  • 4 days DOJ: Protestors Interfering With Pipeline Construction Will Be Prosecuted
  • 4 days Lower Oil Prices Benefit European Refiners
  • 4 days World’s Biggest Private Equity Firm Raises $1 Billion To Invest In Oil
  • 5 days Oil Prices Tank After API Reports Strong Build In Crude Inventories
  • 5 days Iraq Oil Revenue Not Enough For Sustainable Development
  • 5 days Sudan In Talks With Foreign Oil Firms To Boost Crude Production
  • 5 days Shell: Four Oil Platforms Shut In Gulf Of Mexico After Fire
  • 5 days OPEC To Recruit New Members To Fight Market Imbalance
  • 5 days Green Groups Want Norway’s Arctic Oil Drilling Licenses Canceled
  • 6 days Venezuelan Oil Output Drops To Lowest In 28 Years
  • 6 days Shale Production Rises By 80,000 BPD In Latest EIA Forecasts
  • 6 days GE Considers Selling Baker Hughes Assets
  • 6 days Eni To Address Barents Sea Regulatory Breaches By Dec 11
  • 6 days Saudi Aramco To Invest $300 Billion In Upstream Projects
  • 6 days Aramco To List Shares In Hong Kong ‘For Sure’
  • 6 days BP CEO Sees Venezuela As Oil’s Wildcard
  • 6 days Iran Denies Involvement In Bahrain Oil Pipeline Blast
  • 9 days The Oil Rig Drilling 10 Miles Under The Sea
  • 9 days Baghdad Agrees To Ship Kirkuk Oil To Iran
  • 9 days Another Group Joins Niger Delta Avengers’ Ceasefire Boycott
  • 9 days Italy Looks To Phase Out Coal-Fired Electricity By 2025
Cobalt Prices To Rocket As Tech Giants Scramble For Supplies

Cobalt Prices To Rocket As Tech Giants Scramble For Supplies

As the electric vehicle revolution…

Oil Tycoon Hamm Slams EIA’s Overoptimistic Shale Forecasts

Oil Tycoon Hamm Slams EIA’s Overoptimistic Shale Forecasts

Shale billionaire and chief executive…

Waste Not, Want Not: Researchers Turn Waste Heat Into Energy

Waste Not, Want Not: Researchers Turn Waste Heat Into Energy

Just as frugal cooks use every possible scrap of food in their kitchens to avoid waste, so industrialists try to get the most out of their own processes. One way to do that is to tap the huge quantities of waste heat created in factories and power plants as a byproduct of mechanized operations.

Harnessing this form of heat hasn’t been easy. Until now, the focus has been on solid-state thermoelectric mechanisms, which can generate electricity from temperature differences. The materials for these devices, though, tend to be hard to find.

But researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University report that they’ve found a new way to convert this waste heat to energy when these heat differences are less than the temperature of boiling water, 100 Celsius or 212 Fahrenheit.

Waste heat of 100 C or greater is efficient to use because it can boil water and thus create steam energy. But a large amount of waste heat falls below this temperature, making its use in energy generation a challenge.

And this low-grade heat is plentiful. Researcher Yi Cui of Stanford says, “Virtually all power plants and manufacturing processes, like steelmaking and refining, release tremendous amounts of low-grade heat to ambient temperatures. Our new battery technology is designed to take advantage of this temperature gradient at the industrial scale.”

According to MIT post-doctoral researcher Yuan Yang, “One-third of all energy consumption in the United States ends up as low-grade heat.”

The researchers say their technique can be applied to store energy in batteries, particularly rechargeable batteries, which have become a big focus energy research in the past few years. The MIT-Stanford researchers’ method is based on a phenomenon known as the thermogalvanic effect.

Related Article: Synthetic Gas: False Friend For China’s Clean Air Drive?

The voltage of rechargeable batteries relies on temperatures, and their solution combines the cycles of charging and discharging with heating and cooling, with the voltage during discharge greater than the voltage during charge.

This results in a net increase in energy because it delivers more electricity than was used to charge it. The report says this can be achieved at waste heat temperatures as low as 50 C (122 F). In a test using waste heat of 60 C (140 F), the new system had an estimated efficiency of 5.7 percent.

Gang Chen, an MIT professor, says he and his colleagues didn’t come up with the idea of using low-grade waste heat. It’s been around for six decades. Instead, he says, their contribution was “using material that was not around at that time” for the battery electrodes, as well as advances in engineering the system.

Yang adds that previous studies were based on temperatures of at least 500 C (932 F), because most current heat-recovery systems work best with higher temperature differences.

This new system’s advantage in converting waste heat to electricity has one downside: It has a relatively low power density, i.e., the quantity of power generated for a given weight. And Chen says additional research is needed to accelerate the charging and discharging of a batter and to assess its long-term reliability.

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News