Generating electricity from heat is nothing new, but manufacturing thermo-electric generators and devices cost-effectively has eluded developers, said Bert Amick, the inventor and now chief technology officer at Berken.
developed a way to apply semiconductor materials, such as lead or silicon, to a thin-film substrate, or bottom material, such as glass, copper or aluminum.
By using thin film, the company can cost-effectively manufacture semiconductor sheets in bulk that generate electricity from heat.
The sheets can be used in generators or other devices for many purposes, and scaled up or down as needed, Amick
"The thin film is what makes it possible," Amick
Newman's partner, Bert Amick, vice president of Berken, has a "long, long-storied history" of working with thin-film vacuum deposition, Newman said.
"He had a team of contractors and they would ... basically help rocket scientist with their thin-film challenges," Newman said, adding Amick
has patents on things from superconductors to the thin explosive film that deploys airbags and exploding film the Department of Defense uses for kinetic defense.
and his guys had noticed some properties as they had been doing different projects throughout the years, and came up with this idea," Newman said.