In a groundbreaking development, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi have created materials capable of efficiently converting body heat into electricity. This pioneering study holds significant promise for the renewable energy sector, offering a myriad of potential applications. While the announcement about this thermoelectric material was initially made by the institute in June last year, it has now been formally published in the prestigious German scientific journal Angewandte Chemie. Spearheaded by Dr. Ajay Soni, Associate Professor at IIT Mandi’s School of Physical Sciences, the study marks a significant milestone in the field of renewable energy research.
Dr. Soni recently shared details of the thermoelectric generator’s operation in a post on social media platform X, expressing pride in the final version of their work. “Here is the final version of our recent work on flexible thermoelectric generator and human touch sensor with thermoelectric effects, published in @angew_chem. Interesting nanomaterials and outcome,” he stated in the post.
According to the study, the device is designed to initiate charging upon human touch and can effectively power a wide range of electronic devices. The research team achieved this feat by developing a thermoelectric module using silver telluride nanowires. Remarkably, the device begins delivering a significant output voltage merely upon human touch, showcasing its efficiency in harnessing body heat to generate electricity.
Dr. Soni elaborated on the significance of their discovery, stating, “Charging low power flexible electronic devices is no longer a problem. These devices will be charged by the heat of the human body. We have developed a thermoelectric module for this.”
To comprehend the mechanics behind this innovation, it is essential to understand thermoelectricity. As defined by Science Direct, thermoelectricity refers to the direct conversion of heat into electricity or vice versa through two interconnected mechanisms. The first part of this phenomenon, known as the Peltier-Seebeck effect, involves the conversion of heat into electricity and was discovered in 1821 by the Estonian physicist Thomas Seebeck. French physicist Jean Peltier further explored this effect, leading to its widespread understanding. The reverse phenomenon, where heating or cooling can be generated by running an electric current through a material, was later discovered in 1851 by William Thomson, also known as Lord Kelvin.
The implications of IIT Mandi’s breakthrough are profound, offering a renewable energy solution that leverages the body’s natural heat to power electronic devices. This advancement not only holds promise for enhancing energy efficiency but also contributes significantly to the ongoing efforts towards sustainability and environmental conservation.
As the world continues to seek innovative solutions to address the challenges of climate change and energy sustainability, research initiatives like the one undertaken by IIT Mandi play a pivotal role in driving progress. By harnessing the latent energy within our own bodies, this technology opens up new possibilities for renewable energy generation, paving the way for a more sustainable future.
In conclusion, IIT Mandi’s breakthrough in converting body heat into electricity represents a remarkable achievement with far-reaching implications for renewable energy research. With continued advancements in this field, we move closer towards realizing a future powered by clean, sustainable energy sources, ultimately contributing to a greener and more environmentally conscious world.