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Converting Directly into electrical energy

  1. Oct 13, 2012 #1
    Is there any known method to convert straight into electrical energy?

    without all that 'steam' part? xD
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 13, 2012 #2

    Andrew Mason

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    Are you talking about converting thermal energy into electrical energy capable of doing useful mechanical work?

    AM
     
  4. Oct 13, 2012 #3

    mfb

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    Converting what into electric energy?

    Chemical energy? Fuel cells (for some chemical reactions)
    Mechanical energy? Generators
    Light? Photovoltaics
    Something else?
     
  5. Oct 15, 2012 #4
    *Sorry for not making it clear,

    I mean as, where all of our energy in the modern society is made through
    spinning turbines by through thermal energy

    so is there an alternative?
    Other than *photovoltaics
     
  6. Oct 15, 2012 #5

    Andrew Mason

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    It depends on the source of energy. What is the source of energy?

    AM
     
  7. Oct 15, 2012 #6

    QuantumPion

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    You can convert a temperature difference directly into electricity using a thermoelectric generator. However they are very inefficient. Their primary use is for radioisotope thermal generators on spacecraft where the reliability of having no moving parts is more important than pure efficiency.
     
  8. Oct 15, 2012 #7

    mfb

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    Commercial concepts:
    Hydroelectricity
    Wind power
    Photovoltaics (a bit expensive, but that might change)

    Concepts/Prototypes:
    Solar updraft tower -> heat is involved, but not in the conventional way
    Tidal power plants
    Wave power plants
    Osmotic power plants (really)

    Possible:
    Fuel cells (with hydrocarbons as fuel)
    Thermoelectric generators
    + anything I forgot
     
  9. Oct 15, 2012 #8
    So which is the most *efficient way?
     
  10. Oct 15, 2012 #9

    russ_watters

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    Chemical energy can be converted to electrical energy with an efficiency of well over 90% in a battery. Other sorts of chemical energy can be converted to electrical with efficiencies up to around 65% in a fuel cell.
     
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