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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Tenneco/Gentherm showcasing prototype of thermoelectric generator for waste heat recovery; targeting 5% fuel economy improvement

September 11, 2013

TEG component (cartridge) and TEG architecture concept. Source: Crane (2013).Click to enlarge.

Tenneco and Gentherm (formerly BSST/Amerigon) are part of a US Department of Energy (DOE) consortium actively developing a thermoelectric generator (TEG) for capturing waste exhaust heat in vehicles and converting it to electrical energy to be used to power electrical systems within the vehicle. The first rapid prototype of their Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) for light vehicle applications is on display at Tenneco’s booth at the 2013 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show.

Partnering with Tenneco and Gentherm are BMW and Ford, as well as CalTech and NREL. Gentherm is supplying modular, cylindrical-shaped thermoelectric cartridges that convert waste heat from the exhaust into electricity. Tenneco then integrates the cartridges inside a thermoelectric generator (TEG) that includes a unique heat exchanger.

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PowerDriver simulations predict thermoelectric exhaust waste heat recovery output of 300W, -2.5% in fuel consumption; prototyping begins

August 22, 2013

The European Union-funded PowerDriver project—a two-year, €3-million (US$4-million) research project initiated in February 2012 to turn exhaust gas waste heat into electricity using thermoelectric generator (TGEN) technology—has completed simulation work on on a potential automotive application. Results suggest TGEN output of 300W and equivalent fuel saving over the NEDC drive cycle of 2.5%

The PowerDriver project is a collaborative research initiative involving Jaguar Land Rover Ltd and Rolls-Royce PLC together with supply chain and research and development partners and universities. Jaguar Land Rover Ltd is interested in technology capable of being applied to gasoline engine passenger cars while Rolls-Royce PLC is interested in marine applications related to diesel engines.

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NSF invests $12M in 14 materials-by-design research projects as part of Materials Genome Initiative

October 12, 2012

The National Science Foundation (NSF), in support of the federal multi-agency Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) (earlier post), has now granted the first awards for the Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) program.

The NSF Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) and Engineering (ENG) Directorates invested a total of just over $12 million for 22 grants in support of 14 distinct DMREF projects intended to yield a range of new developments, including new lightweight yet rigid polymers; highly durable, multi-layered materials for aircraft engines and power plants; new data storage technology based on spin electronics; new thermoelectric composites for converting heat to electricity; novel designer glasses; membranes that function as well as biological counterparts; new techniques to develop exceptionally hard coatings; and others.

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DOE awards $1.5M to Gentherm (Amerigon) for thermoelectric-based energy recovery system for heavy-duty vehicles; expands existing LDV program

September 28, 2012

Stack-designed cylindrical TEG, built with TE cartridges, developed for LDVs in first project. Click to enlarge.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Gentherm (formerly Amerigon) a $1.55-million contract modification 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 and has the potential to improve passenger car fuel efficiency by as much as 5%.

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 (earlier post) and extends the technology to heavy military vehicles. With the addition of this project, Gentherm adds the US Army Tank Automotive, Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) to its passenger car key partners Ford and BMW.

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