Liquid tin-sulfur compound shows thermoelectric potential

Producing electricity from industrial waste heat

Left to right: Cooper Rinzler PhD '17, graduate student Youyang Zhao, and MIT Assistant Professor Antoine Allanore developed new formulas for predicting which molten compounds will be semiconducting and built a high-temperature thermoelectric device to produce electricity from molten semiconducting compounds that could reuse industrial waste heat.Credit: Denis Paiste/Materials Processing Center

The beauty of something like this is that we can capture both, we can improve waste heat collection, which we may care about from an energy savings perspective, but industry is encouraged to use it because it actually benefits them in the context that they care about directly as well.

Charles Cooper Rinzler, PhD ’17

Antoine Allanore’s research group is offering a solution to the large amounts of wasted heat energy from glass and steel makers: a liquid thermoelectric device with a molten compound of tin and sulfur. This compound can efficiently convert waste heat to electricity, opening the way to affordably transforming waste heat to power at high temperatures.

This research was supported in part by the MIT Energy Initiative Seed Fund