Paint. A Solution to Pollution?

thermoelectric-paint-can-turn-waste-heat-into-energy-04-640x345Week 15 Journal 10 Paint has existed for many years as a way for humans to change the appearance of their surroundings either to make them more livable or as a form of expression. But what if paint could be more than just a cover for walls and exteriors? That is the goal of researchers at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, and the Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute. These scientists have developed a new paint that does much more than just make things look more pleasing. This new thermoelectric paint is able to capture heat energy and convert it to usable electricity. This is not far off from my journal topic from last week (Paris Navigating Gym). Both projects aim to harness wasted energy and put it back into the electrical grid to reduce the amount of fuel that must be used to create this energy in the first place. The paint is able eliminate any heat loss that occurs with other types of thermoelectric technology because the paint can completely cover any surface even if it is irregularly shaped. This allows the paint to be even more effective than its predecessors. This allows for more opportunities to incorporate energy recycling technology that could help to reduce the effects of pollution. The recycling of energy may very well be the goal of the future being that just recycling materials is not quite the solution to pollution we were hoping for.

Works Cited



  1. haylee430

    Haylee Thomas-Kuhlmann (comment 15)

    After reading this it makes me wonder how much heat energy gets transformed into electricity. In your sources it says that power plants use this. They produce mass amount of heat due to the chemical reactions going on but house holds don’t produce near that amount, the power plant in Monticello, MN heats up a whole section of the Mississippi. When comparing these two it would be much more efficient to place this wall paper only in places of high heat because these small amount of heat probably wouldn’t produce much electricity. I think numerical values comparing these and how much energy a household would save due to this paint would need to be examined to know if this is truly a good idea. Though there isn’t exact information on that it is still a good concept and this problem should be addressed because we do give off a lot of heat through our buildings as a whole.

    Another idea was why are we just putting it on walls? Heat rises. If this could be installed on ceilings it would probably benefit and catch more heat than it would as painted walls. I understand they are trying to stick to the idea that paint can be more that art or self expression but it could be a new product as a whole. It could essentially be a ceiling coating that helps save energy. Another thought, why not use it outside in sunny/hot areas such as Arizona or Florida and use its natural heat energy much like the idea of a solar panel. Solar panels are not pretty when seen on houses (my opinion) but paint could be applied to siding or on wood and it would not be considered weird.This also brings up the question on how these compare to solar panels, is using our heat waste or the natural sun energy more effective? Can they work together to save more energy than before?

  2. I’m reading the source that is linked and I still don’t feel like it has been explained how the heat is transferred from the paint. Where is the connection? Are there electrode-like outputs attached to points on the paint? For for me to consider designing something with this paint I would need to understand how the electricity is transferred on the back end.
    This topic makes me think of Rachel Armstrong’s 2009 TED Talk where she talked about her paint that can turn buildings into carbon sinks. The soaking up of CO2 is not its most interesting attribute though—the amount of CO2 the paint can actually remove from the atmosphere is up in the air. More importantly, upon repeated coatings the paint builds up a layer of “biolime” by reacting with the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to produce calcium carbonate. The idea is that the paint will essentially bond with and calcify atop the surface and provide extra strength and insulation. In her talk she proposed adapting the technique for use underwater “to create an artificial limestone reef beneath Venice to stop the city from sinking.” The paint (or biomaterial) would, theoretically, encase the wooden stilts that sit underwater beneath the city in “biolime” and provide reinforcement. She also considered rescuing atolls with the material. Rachel Armstrong has done some interesting work, here is the link.

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