Researchers in Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) is about to unleash a revolutionary paint that can capture solar heat and transform it to electricity. If the study turns successful, imagine how beneficial this paint can be to humanity? We'd be able to paint roofs, houses, buildings, random objects, almost EVERYTHING, and generate energy from it!
Experts have been studying for years about the capacities of photovoltaic paints. This paint basically turns solar light to electricity, making it possible for paint-on solar panels.
However, this new paint from UNIST optimizes thermoelectricity, meaning it gets energy from waste heat of hot surfaces rather than from light.
"For example, the temperature of a building's roof and walls increases to more than 50 °C in the summer," said Jae Sung Son, a coauthor of the study and researcher. "If we apply thermoelectric paint on the walls, we can convert huge amounts of waste heat into electrical energy."
Researchers in UNIST used bismuth telluride (Bi2
) and molecular sintering aids for this paint. Using a brush, it can be applied to surfaces that accumulate heat, then, convert the heat to usable energy.
showed that the paint produced the highest yield of energy compared to other electricity yielding inks and pastes. It actually got 4 mW/cm2
for in-plane type devices and 26.3 mW/cm2
for through-plane type devices.
Researchers say, the paint can also be applied to wearable products, 3D painted electronics, and thermoelectric painted artworks. UNIST are planning to pursue their research further, and expand the paints' application and abilities.