Gentherm to adapt passenger-car thermoelectric generator to heavy vehicles

  • 01-Oct-2012 12:16 EDT
Gentherm TEG.jpg

Gentherm's automotive thermoelectric generator (shown), which converts unused waste heat to electricity, is now being scaled up to suit heavy vehicles.

Gentherm has received a $1.55 million contract modification from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to apply the technology in its thermoelectric generator (TEG) for passenger cars to a similar program for heavy vehicles. The TEG technology, which converts waste heat from gas exhaust into electric energy, has the potential to improve passenger-car fuel efficiency by as much as 5%, the company claims. The grant is an add-on to the $8 million award from the DOE in August 2011 for converting thermoelectric heat to power for passenger cars and extends the technology to heavy military vehicles. With this new project, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive, Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) becomes a key partner to Gentherm, joining passenger-car partners Ford and BMW. With completion expected by early 2015, the project will scale up the fully functional passenger-car TEG (working prototypes have been delivered to BMW and Ford) and integrate it with a 15-L diesel engine to provide fuel economy improvement and ignition-off auxiliary power for combat vehicles. This add-on leverages the existing program technology for large diesel engines, providing a new solution for military heavy vehicles, Class 8 trucks, marine, and industrial power generating equipment.

Other related articles include: http://www.sae.org/mags/aei/10647 and http://www.sae.org/mags/aei/7916.

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