GMZ Energy has announced the successful demonstration of a high-temperature thermoelectric generation (TEG) unit designed for automotive (civilian and military) waste-heat recapture. In the demo, it generated an output power well in excess of its 200-W design goal.
The company built the TEG as part of an ongoing vehicle efficiency research program sponsored by TARDEC (U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center) and administered by the U.S. Department of Energy. Program goals are to reduce the load on the alternator, reduce thermal signature, and muffle engine noise—all while minimizing exhaust pressure drop.
There are no moving parts in the solid-state design, which enables high reliability, mechanical robustness, and silent operation (as is necessary for military applications). With total delivered fuel costs on the battlefield in excess of $40/gal, the U.S. Military is "extremely interested in pursuing this economical fuel-efficiency solution across a broad range of applications and will first test GMZ Energy’s TEG in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle," the company said in a press release.
The 200-W TEG is a modular component of a larger 1000-W TEG that GMZ Energy is developing for the $1.5 million TARDEC program. The TARDEC TEG incorporates GMZ Energy’s TG8-1.0 thermoelectric modules, which are, according to the company, the first commercially available, off-the-shelf modules capable of operating with continuous hot-side temperatures up to 600°C (1112°F) while at power densities greater than 1 W/cm2.