Indian Institute of Technology Mandi researchers are developing thermoelectric materials that can efficiently convert heat into electricity. While solar power has received a lot of attention, other alternative sources are equally promising, even if less known. Generating power from heat, for example, is attractive as there is a lot of heat that is generated through human activities in industry, power plants, home appliances and automobiles where most of this heat is lost. A research team led by Dr. Ajay Soni, Associate Professor (Physics), School of Basic Sciences, IIT Mandi, is studying materials that can convert heat into electricity. The team has been prolific in its research on thermoelectric materials and many of its papers have been published in reputed peer-review international journals including Applied Physics Letters, Physical Review B, Journal of Alloys and Compounds, ACS Applied Energy Materials and RSC Journal of Materials Chemistry and Energy Environmental Sciences. There has been considerable interest in recent years in the development of technologies that can dynamically harvest energy from the environment and convert it to electricity; such futuristic technologies consider Sun, heat and mechanical energy as sustainable sources of energy.
About 70% of energy in the world is wasted as heat and this heat is released into the environment, becoming one of the key players of global warming. The trapping and conversion of waste heat into electricity can serve the dual purpose of energy-self-sufficiency and environmental preservation.