A team of researchers from the University of Houston, Cambridge, Morgan State University and other institutions have created a new thermoelectric material that offers almost more than twice as much power output than the average power conversion compound. The specifics are a little confusing, but it works like this: thermoelectric are measured by either their power efficiency or their power factor. Most materials are considered "good" if they have a power factor of about 40. The group's new material -- a compound made up of nibium, iron, antimony, niobium and titanium -- boasts a power factor of 106.
This means the new material can output 22 watts per square centimeter, as oppose to the 5 to 6 watt output that's typically produced from thermoelectric heat reclamation materials. Ironically, this doesn't mean it's more efficient, but it does mean that the new compound could be a better solution for large-scale heat waste sources like coal plants. That could both increase the profitability of a plant and help slow climate change by reducing emissions. Sounds good to us. Check out the group's full paper at the source link below.