Colossal thermo-hydro-electrochemical voltage generation for self-sustainable operation of electronics
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Thermoelectrics are suited to converting dissipated heat into electricity for operating electronics, but the small voltage (~0.1 mV K-1) from the Seebeck effect has been one of the major hurdles in practical implementation. Here an approach with thermo-hydro-electrochemical effects can generate a large thermal-to-electrical energy conversion factor (TtoE factor), -87 mV K-1 with low-cost carbon steel electrodes and a solid-state polyelectrolyte made of polyaniline and polystyrene sulfonate (PANI:PSS). We discovered that the thermo-diffusion of water in PANI:PSS under a temperature gradient induced less (or more) water on the hotter (or colder) side, raising (or lowering) the corrosion overpotential in the hotter (or colder) side and thereby generating output power between the electrodes. Our findings are expected to facilitate subsequent research for further increasing the TtoE factor and utilizing dissipated thermal energy.
author list (cited authors)
Zhang, Y., Sohn, A., Chakraborty, A., & Yu, C.