Scientists have developed a kind of paint that when applied to a surface can turn heat into electrical power, #photovoltaic paint, and another kind of paint, has already been produced and it captures solar energy and converts it into electricity. The new development is known as #Thermoelectric paint, as it converts heat into electricity when applied to a surface. This type of technology can be applied to harness the waste heat from heat surfaces and convert it into usable #Electric energy for many types of applications.

Thermoelectric paint

This kind of paint functions different from other types of known thermoelectric technologies in that this paint adheres to the heat generator surface, thus increasing the heat efficiency, while other similar technologies lack complete contact producing heat loss. It contains bismuth telluride, which is usually utilized in thermoelectric materials. It also contains added quantities of molecular sintering aids, which when heated cause the thermoelectric particles to combine, incrementing the density and heating conversion of the particles.

How does it work?

The thermoelectric paint can be applied onto a wide variety of surfaces that emit heat. After sintering for around 10 minutes at 450° C (840° F), the painted surface forms a layer of about 50 micrometers thick, producing an output power of 4 and 26 mW/cm2 in in plane and through plane types of devices, respectively. The calculations are in accordance with established thermoelectric materials and surpass those of other devices, such as inks and pastes.

Applications

Some places such as buildings receive the sun´s energy during the summer season. The heat energy can be of 50° C or more in a normal day. By applying thermoelectric paint on the building´s exterior walls, a lot of energy could be converted into electricity from the otherwise waste heat. Scientists believe that this type of technology could be used in everyday wearable devices, 3D printing and painted electronic art, among many other uses.