The general concept of using waste heat from one process as an energy source for another is quite old, but this report says that some University of Minnesota researchers have figured out a practical way to generate electricity from it. It involves a new alloy which changes magnetic properties when it’s exposed to heat. Of course I have no idea whether it’s practical, or even whether some patent troll will step in to exact a fee for its use. It will be interesting to check back in a year or two and see what has become of it.
And let’s remember, it was publicly funded (fortunately completed before the State of Minnesota suspended operations)
Funding for early research on the alloy came from a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research (involving other universities including the California Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, University of Washington and University of Maryland), and research grants from the U.S. Air Force and the National Science Foundation. The research is also tentatively funded by a small seed grant from the University of Minnesota’s Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment.
(No, I don’t know what “tentatively funded” means regarding completed work.)
This is your technology. Don’t let the big guys take it away from you.