A new compound of lead telluride—a semiconductor first used in the Apollo moon landings to provide astronauts with a renewable, thermoelectric power source—can transform the heat emitted from car tailpipes and the chimneys of power stations and factories into a power source. According to the scientists engineering the innovation at
Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, as much as 15 to 20 percent of the heat currently being lost could be recovered as electricity.
Another team of researchers at Utah State University, in Logan, has created a yeast biodiesel fuel that can be made using the watery waste from the mass production of cheese. One cheese plant’s daily byproduct of up to 1 million gallons of liquid cheese waste can produce 66,000 gallons of fuel.