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Alternatives to Rankine cycles

  1. May 20, 2010 #1
    I am plowing away through my ME curriculum and my intentions is to go into power engineering in some shape or form. I wanted to know if any research has gone into energy harvesting at a atomic level. I just wondered if any research has gone into alternative to a boiler and a turbine for generation since that is really what all power generation boils down to at a basic level. Is there any research in gathering mechanical energy at a quantum level rather than trying to play with chaotic heat?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 20, 2010 #2
    Are you asking whether there are other ways to generate power other than thermal? Thats what I gather, since nuclear power is "gathering mechanical energy at a quantum level", but it's still just a glorified boiler/steam turbine system.

    Whats so bad about "chaotic heat", anyway?
  4. May 20, 2010 #3
    Well I know about the nuclear route and I like it but i was wondering if anyone is doing something fundamentally different. Like photovoltaics but on a grander scale. Its just that heat is so wasteful and has negative consequences on the environment where as somehow taping the mechanical energy at atomic level would allow for substantial higher efficiencies. I just wondering if anything is going on looking for another way...
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