University of Oklahoma 'clean energy' technology promises gains in efficiency

February 16, 2010

A "clean energy" technology under development at the University of Oklahoma promises transformational advances with products that convert heat directly to useful electrical power.

"OU has one of the few research groups in the world with the expertise to develop the new semi-conductor materials needed for this new class of highly-efficient ," according to Patrick J.McCann, lead investigator on the project and George Lynn Cross Research Professor at the OU School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Phononic Devices, a pioneer in the field of heat-to-electric energy conversion, is licensing the OU intellectual property and launched its activities with $2 million in venture capital funds from Venrock and Oak Investment Partners.

"We are in the business of managing heat whether for power generation or removal," says Anthony Atti, president and CEO of Phononic Devices. "We are poised to tap the estimated $125 billion market for thermoelectric energy harvesting, cooling and refrigeration."

A $3 million grant from the Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E) awarded to Phononic Devices is allowing for further development and of this breakthrough technology.

The commercialization of this technology will allow an existing power generation facility to improve efficiency by harvesting . The technology is like a solar cell, except that it continues to produce clean energy by harvesting heat as opposed to sunlight.

Phononic Devices is collaborating with OU on materials development, the University of California Santa Cruz on modeling and software development and the California Institute of Technology on testing and validation.

Explore further: Physicist addresses international forum on thermoelectric energy

Related Stories

A greener way to power cars

February 20, 2008

Cardiff University researchers are exploring how waste heat from car exhausts could provide a new greener power supply for vehicles.

Breakthrough made in energy efficiency, use of waste heat

April 1, 2009

Engineers at Oregon State University have made a major new advance in taking waste heat and using it to run a cooling system - a technology that can improve the energy efficiency of diesel engines, and perhaps some day will ...

Promising new material that could improve gas mileage

October 9, 2008

With gasoline at high prices, it's disheartening to know that up to three-quarters of the potential energy you are paying for is wasted. A good deal of it goes right out the tailpipe instead of powering your car.

Recommended for you

Elon Musk hints at new brain-computer project

March 28, 2017

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk hinted Tuesday that he is working on a new startup focusing on brain-computer interface, part of his vision to help humans keep up with machines.

Self-driving car crash comes amid debate about regulations

March 28, 2017

A crash that caused an Uber self-driving SUV to flip onto its side in a Phoenix suburb serves as a stark reminder of the challenges surrounding autonomous vehicles in Arizona, a state that has gone all-in to entice the company ...

Renewable energy has robust future in much of Africa: study

March 27, 2017

As Africa gears up for a tripling of electricity demand by 2030, a new Berkeley study maps out a viable strategy for developing wind and solar power while simultaneously reducing the continent's reliance on fossil fuels and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.