Wouldn’t be great if we could use our body’s heat to charge electronic devices such as fitness gadgets or even phones? Well, thanks to scientists in Russia, we are now closer to turning such an idea into reality.
A team of researchers from the National University of Science and Technology in Moscow has developed new types of energy-efficient devices, called thermocells, that convert heat into energy. The aim is to create portable batteries that could be applied to many types of surfaces to harvest excess heat – including clothing – to generate electricity directly from the surface of the body.
The invention follows the concept of thermoelectricity, which is a type of electricity that is generated by temperature differences, called temperature gradients. These can be found virtually everywhere, including the human body. And while scientists have previously tapped into the potential of such green energy, prior devices had a low output power.
The new study, however, may have solved this problem by developing a new type of thermocell consisting of metal oxide electrodes and an aqueous electrolyte, a combination that showed incredible results in terms of efficiency.
In addition to being more energy-efficient, the novel thermocells are also a potentially safe and cost-effective way to generate renewable energy. In the future, scientists claim it may be even possible to apply the technology to our clothing to recharge mobile devices directly.