Researchers from the University of Iceland announced the invention of a radical device, the Thermator, which can produce electricity from water. While thermo-electric generators have been used to power spacecraft, using heat from radioactive materials, the Thermator works on nothing more than hot water through use of the thermo-electric effect.
Professor Thorstein Sigmarsson of the University of Iceland says it works by translating the difference between the temperature of hot and cold water into energy. Inbetween the hot and the cold side are crystals made of semiconductors. As the heat is transferred through the crystals, part of it is converted from heat energy into electric energy. Sigmarsson hopes to produce energy at $2 a watt, compared with wind turbines that produce energy at $1 a watt.