Turn wasted heat from around your house back into electricity. That’s the simple yet clever idea behind Heat Harvest. A project developed by students Sergey Komardenkov and Vihanga Gore, from the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction.
Heat Harvest is a device that can either stand alone or be integrated into household items, such as tables. It captures wasted heat from our everyday objects and turns it into free, green electricity that can be reused at home.
We don’t think much about the excess heat our homes produce, even though there is so much of it. Everything from our cookware and tea pots to computers and game consoles can get very hot to the touch. But we just let the heat dissipate into the air. This is a terrible waste, because the heat is actually energy that can be reused in our homes, bringing down our energy bills along with our impact on the planet.
How does it work?
Heat Harvest uses thermoelectricity to capture wasted heat and convert it into electricity. It exploits basic physics, putting to use the fact that temperature differences between two surfaces can generate electricity. Recent developments in nanotechnology have also made the conversion of heat to electricity more efficient.
Watch Heat Harvest in action:
Of the project, Komardenkov and Gore said:
Of course we should also try and make smarter home appliances that use less energy when we are not using them, but they would still generate heat that we can turn into electricity and reuse.
We imagine two possible products that use the technology. The first is table tops that extract heat from hot objects that are placed on top of them. These could be anything from a pot of soup to a frying pan straight from the kitchen stove. The second product is heat harvesting pads that you could place beneath TV set top boxes or heat-emitting power adaptors anywhere in the home.
Wireless charging devices are already on the market, meaning that it is now possible to feed wasted heat back into the household’s electricity network and charge the very devices that generated the waste in the first place. It’s an efficient and sustainable solution to our wasteful modern society.
To develop the project, Komardenkov and Gore teamed up with The Fresh Living Lab at Space 10—a future-living lab and exhibition space in the heart of Copenhagen. Find out more about the project.
Featured image of Heat Harvest. Photo: Space 10