We have heard of a lot of approaches where the heat and unwanted stuffs from vehicles and factories are converted to useful energy. But, there has not been a well defined system till now that is able to convert all these wasted heat into useful energy with high efficiency rates. The earlier attempts were able to produce efficiency rates only from 15 to 20%.
A new prototype has been developed by the engineers at the Oregon State University called the “Thermally Activated Cooling System” that can not only capture and convert a part of the heat for cooling purposes but can also produce electricity out of them.
With this technology, all types of low to medium grade wasted heat that comes out of exhaust pipes of millions of factories and also from generators, automobiles can be converted into useful energy.
Some of the main advantages of this method when compared to other methods are given below.
- It requires very less initial and managing costs
- Capable of producing a higher efficiency rate than the conventional ones.
- Can be used for a wide sense of applications according to the energy needs.
- When compared to the conventional system, this method can be used for converting wasted heat into a cooling system as well as useful electricity.
All the heat that is produced in these factories is sent out to the environment. Even the highly advanced electrical power plants in some countries are able to convert only 40% of the energy produced into electricity. The rates of automobiles are even worse (25 to 40%). The vehicles even have its own radiator mechanism to pass out the wasted heat on to the environment.
The efficiency of the thermally activated cooling system is obtained by using very small micro-channels. These micro-channels help in developing a high performance, small size, less weighed cooling system. To make this method more efficient, the organic rankine cycle method has been combined with the vapour compression cycle of this method. Organic rankine cycle is an energy conversion method.
The studies and various results were published in the latest edition of the professional science journal, “Applied Thermal Engineering”. The results were absolutely positive as they were able to convert almost 80% of every kilowatt of unwanted waste heat into a kilowatt of cooling system. But, this result was based on the fact that there was no electricity produced. If some of the heat was used to produce electricity the efficiency will have been reduced. But still, the production of 15 to 20% of electricity with this method is far better than any other method used today.