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Converting everyday heat energy into electricity

  1. Nov 8, 2013 #1
    Separate question. Can anyone tell me what the limitations would be of trying to convert the planet's ever increasing heat into electricity. I'm imagining building materials that could take 100-120 degree heat and convert it for use in running home appliances, including air conditioners. How likely is this?

    Thanks,
    Dirk
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2013 #2

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    You'd need some sort of heat engine, but those require differences in temperatures, so you'd need a cooler place to act as a heat sink. Unfortunately the way you're imagining it isn't quite feasible, as heat engines work poorly when there is only a small difference between the hot and cold sides.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_engine
     
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