22: Alphabet Energy - That’s a useless thermoelectric material

John Reifenberg, Jeff Weisse, and Tapan Patel from the start-up company Alphabet Energy join the podcast to discuss something all around us: heat. Alphabet Energy is trying to harvest waste heat and, in doing so, increase the energy efficiency of cars, chemical plants, refrigerators, and much more. We focus on thermoelectrics — devices that convert heat into electrical energy. We discuss what’s needed for thermoelectrics to become mainstream products, what’s missed when peak materials performance is overemphasized, and the difficulty of translating laboratory-based fabrication techniques into large-scale manufacturing. (Recorded on October 18, 2016)