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University Distinguished Professor
Michigan State University, Dept. of Chemical Engineering
Electricity generated from solar and wind has grown rapidly in the past few decades. However, its continued growth is imperiled by the high costs of grid integration. While solar and wind energy enjoy low operating costs, they are intermittent and variable on multiple time scales. Thus they may not be available when needed. Storing electrical energy is costly and so is providing backup power. Thus grid integration costs rise as the penetration of solar and wind electricity increases. There is a strong positive correlation between installed wind and solar capacity versus the residential energy price in 21 member countries of… [more]View Discussion
NASA has used thermoelectric energy, or the conversion of waste heat to electricity, for decades to power spacecraft and the Mars Science Laboratory Rover. However, thermoelectric energy has attracted minimal attention in the alternative-energy world due to its limited commercial viability, until recently. Last year, Michigan State University (MSU) with the support of the Lawrence Berkley National Lab developed a new class of thermoelectrics using a compound called tetrahedrite that is believed to be more cost-effective and has the potential for everyday use. One start-up finding success building on the findings from MSU is Alphabet Energy. They have developed a stand-alone… [more]View Discussion