Monday, 16 December 2019

Electricity From A Cup Of Tea

Updated: January 15, 2016 1:14 pm

There are two students who have proposed an idea of embedding furniture with pads to absorb latent heat and convert it to electricity. Their concept has been submitted to the Smithsonian, USA

Many of us do all that is possible to conserve electricity in our homes and offices. To save even Rs.100 is well worth the effort. Switching off lights, fans, computers and other appliances, certainly reflects a reduction in our bills. Yet a paradox persists: despite trying our best, electricity is wasted. When we wait for that cup of tea to cool, its heat being released to the table’s surface. Is your lap-top warm? Yes, that is wasted energy. By observing wastage of electricity in different ways, the two students in Copenhagen, nicknamed a plan, “ Heat Harvest.” It symbolizes a pad that can be placed onto a table. This pad will capture heat from heated cups of tea or coffee, or a warm lap-top. The resultant heat is transferred through a thermoelectric generator which recycles the heat into electricity. This form of electricity can then be used to charge mobile phones and other devices by simply placing them on the pad. One can also “collect” the heat by placing the pads beneath television sets and electronics. The thermoelectric generator is a solid state, liquid cooled machine and it converts exhaust heat into electricity. There is another model, The Power Module, which can accept heat of even higher temperatures.

The creators of Heat Harvest are Sergey Komardenkov from Moscow and Vihanga Gore from Mumbai. They have nurtured a vision- to introduce this innovative idea to homes and motivate saving of electricity. A lap-top uses 40 watts of electricity and produces an equivalent of the same amount in terms of heat. In theory the heat can be converted into electricity. Heat Harvest is a product of Space 10, which is a new funded venture of IKEA. Their mission is to explore sustainable living. They conduct workshops, lecture series and exhibitions. Twelve students from the Copenhagen School of Interaction Design came together for the design of Heat Harvest. According to Komardenkov and Gore they had only two weeks to finalise Heat Harvest. They interviewed many people in Copenhagen, and asked what they really imagined in a sustainable home of the future. The companies are now striving towards perfecting the technology of Heat Harvest. With a team, which included the students, they are fully aware of the product they must perfect and prepare to then enter the commercial world when one day, sooner rather than later, we will be able to produce electricity in our homes and offices through a cup of tea which will reflect a saving in our electricity costs. Subsequent to the climate talks in Paris, leaders will surely welcome these sustainable technologies. Many engineering enterprises, reading about this concept, will be inspired to develop similar prototypes. The impact can be monumental, both for business and in our homes.

By Deepak Rikhye

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