Energy scavenging from ultra-low temperature gradients

Ravi Anant Kishore, Brenton Davis, Jake Greathouse, Austin Hannon, David Emery Kennedy, Alec Millar, Daniel Mittel, Amin Nozariasbmarz, Min Gyu Kang, Han Byul Kang, Mohan Sanghadasa, Shashank Priya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Thermal energy harvesting from natural resources and waste heat is becoming critical due to ever-increasing environmental concerns. However, so far, available thermal energy harvesting technologies have only been able to generate electricity from large temperature gradients. Here, we report a fundamental breakthrough in low-grade thermal energy harvesting and demonstrate a device based on the thermomagnetic effect that uses ambient conditions as the heat sink and operates from a heat source at temperatures as low as 24 °C. This concept can convert temperature gradients as low as 2 °C into electricity while operating near room temperature. The device is found to exhibit a power density (power per unit volume of active material) of 105 μW cm-3 at a temperature difference of 2 °C, which increases to 465 μW cm-3 at a temperature difference of 10 °C. The power density increases by 2.5 times in the presence of wind with a speed of 2.0 m s-1. This advancement in thermal energy harvesting technology will have a transformative effect on renewable energy generation and in reducing global warming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1008-1018
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution


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