Hot technology

A new device harvests energy that would otherwise go wasted

By Stephen Ornes, 11:00 AM July 19, 2012

Almost every device that needs energy also wastes energy. Cars get their zip by burning gasoline, but that process heats up the car — and that heat is wasted energy. Computer batteries get hot when they’re in use; so do cell phones and kitchen appliances. All that hot air adds up: The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that more than half of the energy generated in America will be wasted, mainly as lost heat.

But where some see waste, Zhong Lin Wang sees opportunity. Wang is an engineer a...

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