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Weight penalty incurred in thermoelectric recovery of automobile exhaust heat

Rowe, David Michael, Smith, J., Thomas, G. and Min, Geo ORCID: 2011. Weight penalty incurred in thermoelectric recovery of automobile exhaust heat. Journal of Electronic Materials 40 (5) , pp. 784-788. 10.1007/s11664-011-1571-7

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Thermoelectric recovery of automobile waste exhaust heat has been identified as having potential for reducing fuel consumption and environmentally unfriendly emissions. Around 35% of combustion energy is discharged as heat through the exhaust system, at temperatures which depend upon the engine’s operation and range from 800°C to 900°C at the outlet port to less than 50°C at the tail-pipe. Beneficial reduction in fuel consumption of 5% to 10% is widely quoted in the literature. However, comparison between claims is difficult due to nonuniformity of driving conditions. In this paper the available waste exhaust heat energy produced by a 1.5 L family car when undergoing the new European drive cycle was measured and the potential thermoelectric output estimated. The work required to power the vehicle through the drive cycle was also determined and used to evaluate key parameters. This enabled an estimate to be made of the engine efficiency and additional work required by the engine to meet the load of a thermoelectric generating system. It is concluded that incorporating a thermoelectric generator would attract a penalty of around 12 W/kg. Employing thermoelectric modules fabricated from low-density material such as magnesium silicide would considerably reduce the generator weight penalty.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Subjects: T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0361-5235
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 10:43

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