NORTHVILLE (WWJ) — The thermal management technology developer Gentherm Inc. (Nasdaq: THRM) will feature its latest thermoelectric generator cartridge design for converting waste heat to electrical energy at the 65th annual International Motor Show this week in Frankfurt, Germany.
Gentherm is leading a Department of Energy-funded project to develop technology to capture automobile waste exhaust heat and converting it to electrical energy to power electrical systems within the vehicle and to improve fuel economy. Partnering with Gentherm is Tenneco Corp. and two global vehicle manufacturers.
The project calls for Gentherm to supply modular, cylindrical-shaped thermoelectric cartridges that convert waste heat from the exhaust into electricity. Tenneco then integrates the cartridges inside a thermoelectric generator that includes a heat exchanger. Tenneco will display the complete TEG at the show.
“Our new TEG cartridge design is the result of several years of research with the DOE and other important partners,” said Gentherm president and CEO Daniel R. Coker. “We believe it is a breakthrough technology that has applications in a variety of global industries, but especially for automobiles in terms of reducing CO2 emissions, improving fuel economy and providing a new source of much-needed electricity. We are now working closely with Tenneco to integrate our thermoelectric cartridges into a new and innovative exhaust system design.”
In a typical internal combustion engine, approximately 30 percent of the fuel energy is used for actual vehicle propulsion, while more than 70 percent is lost, about half of it through the vehicle’s exhaust system. Thermoelectric generators help capture a portion of the lost energy, convert it to electricity and redistribute it to electrical systems in the vehicle, which can ultimately support improved fuel efficiency.
Inside the new TEG system, thermoelectric material is sandwiched together within the cartridges and exposed to hot exhaust gas on one side and to engine coolant on the other side. The temperature gradient over the thermoelectric material results in an electrical current flow, which is then redistributed to the vehicle. The cartridges use semiconductor materials that are abundant and environmentally benign.
“The modular design of the TEG cartridges enables packaging scalability depending on vehicle design, making it more cost-effective to integrate into the vehicle’s exhaust system,” said Dmitri Kossakovski, Gentherm’s R&D director and leader of the power generation team located in Azusa, California.
The U.S. DOE consortium anticipates that initial demonstrators will be available in 2014.
More at http://www.gentherm.com.