ENECO, Inc. has announced details of a breakthrough in energy conversion with exciting potential benefits for a range of multi-billion dollar markets.
ENECO’s “Thermal Chip” is essentially a new type of semiconductor which directly converts heat from any source into electricity, delivering energy and power conversion three to five times more efficiently than present alternatives, and producing commercial products that are likely to be up to ten times cheaper than the competition.
The flexibility and scalability of the chip also means that there are a vast number of potential applications, and the technology is attracting attention from a variety of industries. One of the company’s initial focuses is portable power, a prospect that appeals to ENECO’s chairman, Max Lewinsohn. “The world battery market is worth around $50billion a year, and is growing rapidly to meet consumer demand for more wireless and handheld products and devices,” says Lewinsohn. As well as ongoing defence contracts, the company is also pursuing various applications with parties active in the automotive, solar power and uninterruptible power sectors.
The company, headquartered in Salt Lake City, is privately-funded and has been researching and perfecting the technology quietly since 1999. This long process involved working closely alongside the relevant scientific organizations and specialists to ensure authoritative independent verification and the subsequent widespread acceptance of the technology. As a result, the field’s reference ‘bible’, the CRC Handbook of Thermoelectrics, now has a chapter devoted to ENECO’s technology. The thorough development stage has also ensured the company now has broad protection from a spread of US and international patents.
ENECO’s Thermal Chip is in some respects similar to a fuel cell, but a fuel cell converts the chemical energy of a fuel to electricity whereas a Thermal Chip converts heat energy to electricity. Its energy density (a measure of power production for a given weight or size) is claimed to be 5 times better than current lithium-ion-batteries and 2-4 times better than future micro fuel cell capabilities projected for 2010.