Every first year engineering student knows that you can generate a tiny amount of electricity from a thermocouple with one side hot and the other cold. But this effect has been so utterly inefficient that it is a novelty, not a useful process.

But that seems to have changed. This process is 40% efficient. Even a standard turbine generator, state of the art is only 35%.

This is phenomenal! If this proves out, it will be a revolution in energy generation. It means that heat sources, which are very plentiful in today’s world can be made useful.

I’m not sure I can explain the potential without the massive nerd speak of which I am capable, but believe me it is there.

Generating Electricity from Heat with No Moving Parts – Record-high thermophotovoltaic efficiency exceeding 40 percent could lead to thermal batteries for power grids