Waste not, want not. This could well be the motto of Professor Tsutomu Iida. Iida is a man with a plan—an ambitious plan to harness waste heat on a global scale to protect the planet. Moreover, he is intent on generating results in the not-too-distant future.
“My research focuses on solid-state thermal-to-electric energy conversion technology,” Iida says. “Our overarching mission is to create electricity from waste heat to help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to minimize the greenhouse effect,” he explains.
Put simply, Iida and his team are working to create something using essentially hot air. Right now, Iida and his research are at the vanguard of turning waste heat into electricity.
If all goes according to plan, Iida hopes to leverage the advanced technology he has developed to help mankind and the environment by cutting CO2 emissions and curbing global warming. Iida says the arithmetic is straightforward: Converting 10% of this loss into electricity would translate into 10% less fossil fuels being consumed.
“Today, more than 70% of primary source energy is waste heat. Imagine that—70% of the heat from vehicles is simply lost. We want to change that,” he says.