The thermoelectric effect. A classic example used in multiple architectures is bimetallic contact. Due to differences in the valences, a voltage is produced at the junction of the two dissimilar metals, which can also result in a very small current. Arrays of such devices can increase the current output by summation. As is noted below, the effect can be used in reverse to generate heat flux., and therefore cooling (on one side of the peltier...heating on the other)
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MUCH more information needed - Solar power can convert water to steam and the steam can drive a generator. What are you trying to do here?
A thermocouple is what you are looking for. Get two different metal wires welded together so that you have wire A welded to wire B and then the end of wire B welded to another length of wire A again and then you make one of the junctions cold and you apply your heat to the other junction and you will get electrical energy from the wires.
The are a number of ways to do this. Thermoelectric devices can convert heat into electricity directly.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoelectric_effecthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_harvesting#Thermoelectrics However for converting heat into electricity on a large scale, such as for a commercial electric generating plant it is cheaper and more efficient to use steam turbines. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_power_station There are also chemical methods. That is you use heat to drive the formation of some chemical "fuel" such as zinc or hydrogen. Then you feed this fuel to a fuel cell or battery. For example, the batteries used for most consumer applications (AA, C, D, 9V, etc) are based on zinc chemistry.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alkaline_batteryhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinc-carbon_battery Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MHD_generatorhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermionic_converter Of course there are other methods of converting heat to electricity, of which I am unaware, or have neglected to mention. Also there are methods which have not been invented yet.
What do you want to do? The question is vague, and unanswerable in it's present form. L
There are many. Heat water up, make steam, drive turbine is the most common. Steve