A science fiction writer's blog.
Yeah, interesting. I'm surprised that Stirling engines are the best we can do to recover electrical energy from the heat - it means using moving parts, and an extra conversion step (thermal > mech > elec). Shame there's no better (solid state?) way to do it.[sorry if this posts twice, something screwed up.]
Well, the speed things are going in materials development I'm betting there will be a solid-state method within a decade. Check some of the articles here: http://phys.org/
Heh, and a day later I read this article: http://phys.org/news/2012-11-energy-savingseasy-dirt-pressure.html
Looking a bit further: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotope_thermoelectric_generatorit's nothing new ... I guess thermoelectric materials just don't produce enough electric bang for your thermal buck, because they must surely be more reliable than Stirling engines.
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