Photo of burned laptop via Stewart, Murata prototype photo via PC Advisor
Have you ever been working away on your laptop and realize that the sucker is putting out some serious heat – enough for it to be not so cozy sitting on your lap? Well, that waste heat could be put to good use, and Murata Manufacturing is on to something with a new prototype demonstrated at CEATEC that could just solve those heat – and battery power – woes. Murata demoed a thermoelectric device that could turn waste heat into electricity, which could be used for laptops and similar products. The prototype could generate 38 milliwats of energy per square centimeter at 360 Celsius. Here’s how:
The thermoelectric device generates electricity when two ceramic semiconductors are subjected to different temperatures. When the semiconductors are connected, the temperature gradient produces a slight electric current.
Very cool (har har) stuff. It isn’t going to be ready for consumers right away. In fact, Murata thinks it’ll take about 10 years before it is advanced enough to be marketable. Big bummer. Perhaps the push for efficiency and alternative energy sources for our gadgets can give the tech a needed nudge.