A team of scientists from Northwestern University have found a crystal form of the chemical compound tin selenide to be the best material to use to covert waste heat to useful electricity. Tin selenide poorly conducts heat making it the most effective thermoelectric material to date.
After testing the efficiency of waste heat conversion of tin selenide, the team found the material exhibits a ZT of 2.6 around 650 degrees Celsius. ZT is the ratio of electrical conductivity and this figure represents the highest amount reported to date. Applications of tin selenide could be used in the automotive industry, heavy manufacturing industries and other places where large combustion engines operate constantly.