dryriver writes: Harvesting waste heat from power stations and even vehicle exhaust pipes could soon provide a valuable supply of electricity. A small team of Monash University researchers working under the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) has developed an ionic liquid-based thermocell. Thermocell technology is based on harnessing the thermal energy from the difference in temperature between two surfaces and converting that energy into electricity. The new thermocell could be used to generate electricity from low grade steam in coal fired power stations at temperatures around 130C. This would be implemented by having the steam pass over the outer surface of the hot electrode to keep it hot while the other electrode is air or water cooled.