Those opportunities are within the realm of possibility thanks to a new patent-pending Loyola University New Orleans invention by physics professor Patrick Garrity, Ph.D. The invention is now entering the prototype stage as a result of a $74,523 NASA grant awarded by John C. Stennis Space Center.
“The power it takes to charge personal devices on Earth is literally a 10-gigawatt power plant worth every day,” Garrity said. “Body heat is a source of electricity, and we all produce heat. You could integrate that into clothing to charge personal devices. If you can take a power plant offline, that’s a big deal.”
Thermoelectric technology—the ability to turn heat into electricity—has been around for years, but plagued by inefficient processes. The alternative energy technology hasn’t exactly caught on for mainstream uses. But Garrity aims to change that. His method uses complex physics to raise the efficiency of these devices by orders of magnitude.