DOE awards $1.5M to Gentherm (Amerigon) for thermoelectric-based energy recovery system for heavy-duty vehicles; expands existing LDV program
|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.
The project, to be completed by early 2015, will scale up the passenger car TEG and integrate it with a 15-liter diesel engine to provide fuel economy improvement and auxiliary power for combat vehicles.
This add-on leverages the existing program technology to large diesel engines, providing a new tool for military heavy vehicles, Class 8 trucks, marine and industrial power generating equipment.
|TEG & Exhaust System in Lincoln MKT. Click to enlarge.|
Passenger car TEG. The DOE-funded Amerigon thermoelectric project originally began in 2004 as one of several projects targeting fuel economy improvements in light-duty vehicles of 10%. That project, which received more than $7.1 million in DOE funding, wrapped up in 2011 with a complete TEG system implemented in a BMW X6 and Lincoln MKT for road testing in which they demonstrated power production of up to 450 watts in the BMW and more than 300 watts in the MKT.
The TEGs were also tested on the bench and, in a peak performance test, produced more than 700 watts as a result of improving interfaces, thermal and electrical.
The TEG developed in that project provided a proof-of-concept for stack-arranged TE engines in a cylindrical form factor. However, the project team concluded that the design has an inappropriate power form (high current, low voltage) and would be difficult to manufacture due to the complex liquid cooling circuit, number of parts and large hermetically enclosed volume. The next generation TEG will retain a cylindrical form factor and stack-designed TE engines but comprise a number of smaller cartridges.
This follow-on light-duty vehicle project, funded in 2011, has a target of a 5% fuel economy improvement.
￼￼￼￼ “Thermoelectric Waste Heat Recovery Program for Passenger Vehicles”, 2012 Vehicle Technologies Program Annual Merit Review