Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Converting Low Temp Waste Heat To Electricity

Can civilization keep itself from drowning in useless, waste heat?


(Yale Engineers Turn Wasted Heat Into Power)

It is estimated that recoverable waste heat in the U.S. alone could power tens of millions of homes. Although existing technologies can reuse high-temperature heat or convert it to electricity, it is difficult to efficiently extract energy from low-temperature heat waste due to the small temperature difference between the plant’s heat discharge and the surrounding environment. Additionally, conventional systems are designed to target a specific temperature difference, so they’re less effective when there are fluctuations in the output of waste heat.

Researchers at Yale’s Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering have developed a new technology that overcomes these challenges. The key is a “nanobubble membrane” that traps tiny air bubbles within its pores when immersed in water. Heating one side of the membrane causes water to evaporate, travel across the air gap, and condense on the opposite side of the membrane. This temperature-driven flow of water across the membrane is then directed to a turbine to generate electricity.

To prove the concept, the team built a small-scale system and demonstrated that the nanobubble membranes could produce pressurized flows of water and generate power even with heat fluctuations and temperature differences as small as 20 degrees Celsius — making it feasible for use with the wasted heat from industrial sources. The findings were published online June 27 in the journal Nature Energy.

The researchers used nanostructured membranes with a surface chemistry that helps trap the air bubbles, keeping bubbles contained within pores even when large pressures are generated. These membranes, approximately as thick as two sheets of paper, were made from highly hydrophobic (water-repelling) polymer nanofibers.

I first read about this question in the early 1970's. In his 1970 novel Ringworld, Larry Niven had to help an entire species, the Puppeteers, with their waste heat problem. They are sentient herd animals whose vast cities and works cover their entire planet.

"I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat. Total conversion of energy had rid us of all waste products of civilisation, save that one. We had no choice but to move our world outward from its primary."

"Was that not dangerous?"

"Very... we found that a sun was a liability rather than an asset. We moved our world to a tenth of a light year's distance, keeping the primary only as an anchor...
(Read more about the Puppeteer Kemplerer Rosette)

Via IndustryTap.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/18/2016)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Monarch Tractor - It's Electric, Autonomous and Smart
'Driver-optional' and follows gestures.

Hovermap By Emesent Autonomous Mapping Works Indoors - and Out
Perfect for exploring ancient artifacts on distant planets.

Ingenious Engineer Creates DIY Feeding Robot
'Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.' - Robert Heinlein, 1942.

Do Smart Glasses Need Forward-Facing Cameras?
'They were stylish, with yellow-tinted lenses and hip frames, but the posts were unusually thick.' - Daniel Suarez, 2009.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Jetson ONE Personal Electric Aerial Vehicle
Who says you can't have your flying car?

Starlab By Nanoracks, A Commercial Space Station
'Webb Foster had built his space laboratory... It was a great crystal sphere, a thousand feet in diameter.'

Auto-Targeting Fire Sprinkler Systems Now Reality
I think every kitchen should have one of these.

Monarch Tractor - It's Electric, Autonomous and Smart
'Driver-optional' and follows gestures.

'Seabreeze' Apple And UCLA Project To Beat Depression
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test,' the machine said peevishly.'

Hovermap By Emesent Autonomous Mapping Works Indoors - and Out
Perfect for exploring ancient artifacts on distant planets.

Sono Motor's Sion Sun-Powered Car
'...six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

LEONARDO Robot Has Legs And Thrusters, Can Skateboard, Slackline
'a walking balloon proceeded with long strides of its aluminum legs over a slant of steep upland.'

Xavier Robots On Patrol For 'Anti-Social Behavior'
'This was as close as a robot could get to a cop in uniform.'

Rotating House in Bosnia
'... feel free to turn the house on your own.'

Ingenious Engineer Creates DIY Feeding Robot
'Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.'

SpaceX Creates 'Tholian Web' Mega Constellation Of Satellites
'We shall not see home again!'

Do Smart Glasses Need Forward-Facing Cameras?
'They were stylish, with yellow-tinted lenses and hip frames, but the posts were unusually thick.'

Adorable One-Seater Electric Car From Wuxi Sinotech
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed...'

Zoom Adds Real-Time, Live Translation
'He immediately turned the small shining disc of the Language Rectifier..'

It's Spacewalk Sunday, Thanks To The ESA
'The delicious, indescribable pleasure of being a little planet swinging through space...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.