By CELESTE BOTT
Capital News Service
LANSING – It may soon be possible to use wasted heat from your vehicle’s tailpipe to power electronics in your car, thanks to a new thermoelectric material developed by researchers in Michigan. That’s just one of many potential uses of the new material, which is based on tetrahedrites, natural minerals found in abundance. Thermoelectric materials are chemical compounds capable of converting waste heat into usable electricity. According to Donald Morelli, a professor of chemical engineering at Michigan State University and the lead researcher on the project, the material provides a cheaper way to turn heat energy that would have been wasted into something useful, like electricity. “What we’ve managed to do is synthesize some compounds that have the same composition as natural minerals,” said Morelli, who also directs MSU’s Center for Revolutionary Materials for Solid State Energy Conversion.