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Millions of the world's poorest people lack electricity but some live near natural heat sources such as geysers and hot springs that could be tapped to power generators.

Efforts to generate electricity from natural heat sources have so far been ineffective. But now a US-based chemist called Roman Boulatov has developed a device that could change all that, reports Robert Service in Science.

Boulatov's invention is a cheap fuel cell that can be recharged using freely available heat that drives an electric current within the cell.

He says that several dozen of the cells in an array could power simple machines such as telephones, water purifiers and refrigerators — which could in turn begin to help millions climb out of poverty.

Independent experts agree that it could be an ideal solution in developing countries. The device was unveiled at last month's meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Link to full article in Science