Clean Power

Published on July 16th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


Crowdfund It: Most Efficient Semiconductor Chip

July 16th, 2013 by  

A new crowdfunding campaign aimed at creating the world’s most efficient semiconductor chip has just been launched on Kickstarter. The MicroPower Chips team has a rather ambitious goal of raising $250,000 within 30 days, but it may indeed be able to do so. Within just 1.5 days, it has already raised over $15,000, and it’s technology and aims are very exciting.

The key aim of this MicroPower Chips technology is to turn waste heat into electricity… 3 times more efficiently than anything before it. As many of you are well aware, we waste a ridiculous amount of energy as heat every day. Unfortunately, thermoelectric technology aimed at making use of that waste heat hasn’t really progress for decades, since the 1950’s. This team of researchers is aimed at finally changing that. Here’s a video about the super-efficient semiconductor chip (followed by more text below):

The potential of a technology that transforms waste heat into electricity is enormous. The matter has come up many times in the comments under our posts. Of course, if this team’s technology accomplishes the goals set for it, the global warming emissions reductions and other environmental and quality of life benefits would be enormous. How much potential? Here’s what a member of the team wrote to CleanTechnica in a message on Facebook:

“With potentially half the total yearly supply of fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil) being frittered away through waste heat via industrial processes, capturing this huge energy resource economically is seen as ‘the holy grail.’ “

About $4 trillion is spent on producing energy through coal, oil, and natural gas every year. Half of that market (lost heat that could be converted into electricity) would equal $2 trillion. Even half of that would be huge.

So, where is this research team at this point in time? Is it worth funding?

The team, which is private but is working in collaboration with Texas State University, has been engaged in stealth research a development for four years. As you can see in the video above, its VP of Engineering and Operations is the former Director of R&D for Motorola. From the Kickstarter page, the team writes:

“We have created and successfully tested some prototype chips and modules. They work great, but we want to create 100,000 chips with further improvements in efficiency and cost, and freely deliver these demo chips to industry users for evaluation.”

“For quite some time we have been in discussions with leading industrial companies such as BMW, Boeing, Dow Chemical, GDF Suez, Bosch, ABB, Honeywell and 3M to name a few, and recent collaboration agreements signed with major industrial players show the appetite that the market has for our technology. We are delighted to be collaborating with companies who can see the benefits of engaging with us at an early stage to develop integrated solutions,” commented Max Lewinsohn, MicroPower’s Chairman.

There are a lot more details over on the Kickstarter page, so just jump over there if you want to learn more.

You can also get in touch with the team on:

Or the “old-fashioned” ways:

Tristan Lewinsohn, Director of Business Development.
Telephone: +44 7948 219 807

This is a sponsored post from MicroPower Global. Want some promotion for your crowdfunding campaign? Get in touch with us here!

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Wayne Williamson

    Sounds like a better thermocouple…could be very useful on deepspace probes…maybe NASA can kick in some funding..

  • JamesWimberley

    I wish them well, but the presentation is cringe-makingly amateurish, and in parts inaudible.
    From the web page, I managed to learn a (very) little about the technology. The operating temperature range is “between 200˚C and 600˚C”, so it’s limited to high-temperature industrial processes. You could not use it to make a solar panel more efficient. However, the range is right for CSP, which it could drastically simplify.

  • groucho

    It’s legit alright. I’ve been to their facility at Texas State University. Like many early stage ops they have private funding from founders and others, but have hit a wall, and need extra help to make the big leap to the next stage. Ideal for Kickstarter – gives the public the chance to engage with a project that may have big impact.

  • addicted4444

    Why is this a Kickstarter? Does not sound legit.

    They have been working for 4 years, and what they need is 250k? That wont even pay 2 pHDs salaries.

  • Matt

    So all you coal/nuclear fans out there put up some money. Since this could be just the thing to “eat” up that waste heat, so your favorite plant can stay on line during the heat wave when river water temps start going up. All without starting up those fans to run a cooling tower. By the way was told by a guy that worked at a nuclear plant that the fan to run one of those towers draws 1MW. So it’s really a two-fer for these plants, not only does it recover power from the waste heat. There is less heat that need to be evaporated which requires less energy.

    If you more into green power, then think install these at new plants making them more efficient and take older/dirtier plant off line.

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