Power Felt is a highly promising thermoelectric device that can generate a charge from heat. The fabric can be employed to harvest power from anything that emits heat, for example, human body, roof tiles or a electronic devices. The technology has been conceived by a group of scientists at the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at the Wake Forest University.
The Power Felt is developed by locking tiny carbon nanotubes in a flexible plastic material. The technology produces power with the help of the difference between the temperature of the body and atmosphere. Power Felt is a breakthrough technology that recaptures the dissipating energy from any object that ejects heat, claims Corey Hewitt, a graduate student in the Wake Forest.
The researchers propose Power Felt for various applications to gather spilling energy. The material can be used to embed in the lining of automobile seats, insulate water pipes that carry hot water, stitch inside sports wears or even to wrap inside a wound strap. In all these cases, some heat is produced, which the Power Felt can grab easily.
Is this technology really efficient? This question is truly important. In fact, thermoelectric technology has been there for a while. Scientists often refrained from using it to produce charge because of two major reasons; the high cost and underdeveloped technology .
Even the Power Felt that comes with 72 stacked layers of carbon nanotubes generates only 140 nano watts. This amount of power output is extremely low. Needless to mention, 140 nano watts is nothing to charge an iPhone or any other electronic devices.
But, what is promising is that the Wake Forest researchers are still continuing their experiments. In future, they will be trying to implement maximum number of nanotube layers to the material as well as to keep it as slim as possible. Indeed, we have much reason to be hopeful.
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