Dr Tony Shien-Ping Feng of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and his team invented a Direct Thermal Charging Cell (DTCC) which can effectively convert low grade heat (lower than 100°C) to electricity, creating a huge potential to reduce greenhouse effects by capturing exhaust heat and cutting down primary energy wastage.
HKU’s Technology Transfer Office has filed patents for the invention. Low grade heat is abundantly available in industrial processes, as well as in the environment, living things, solar-thermal and geothermal energy.
Over 60% of the world’s primary energy input is wasted as heat, a majority of this loss is regarded as low-grade heat.
The newly designed DTCC is a game-changing electrochemical technology representing a breakthrough both at theoretical and technical levels.
It can convert low-grade heat to electricity efficiently and has potential applications in HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system to recycle low-grade heat from the compressor and condenser into electricity for use in electrical devices.
It can harvest solar thermal energy to power smart devices and iphones, and harness body heat to power wearable electronic devices or medical devices for monitoring body health conditions.