Did you know that approximately 50 to 60 percent of the energy generated in coal and oil-based power plants is wasted as heat? A team of researchers at Purdue University may have solved the problem.

A thermal metamaterial has been used to control the emission of radiation at high temperatures, which could lead to the manufacture of devices able to efficiently harvest the wasted heat. These thermophotovoltaic devices, which generate electricity from thermal radiation, might be adapted to industrial pipes in factories and power plants. The researchers demonstrated how to restrict emission of thermal radiation to a portion of the spectrum most needed for thermophotovoltaic technology.

The thermal metamaterial, which is made up of nanoscale layers of tungsten and hafnium oxide, was used to suppress the emission of one portion of the spectrum while enhancing emission in another.

Click here to read the research paper.