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Waste heat for energy

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Waste heat for energy

Waste heat for energy

ID: F1509-05

Just a fraction of the energy released by burning fossil fuels is transformed into mechanical or electricity energy with many of the energy released as heat and written down as a loss. Thermoelectric materials developed by an EU-funded project may provide the solution to this energy problem. Between one half and two thirds of the fossil fuels burnt to generate energy are dissipated as heat into the atmosphere. While it's long been understood that waste heat can be converted into power the performance of very early thermoelectric power generation systems was so low that it restricted their programs. Thermoelectric generators are essentially devices designed to convert temperature directly into electricity utilizing two materials and a heat gradient. The greater the heat difference between the 'hot' side and the 'cold' side the greater the energy that can be produced. Within the a project the focus was to design thermoelectric generators that could be mass produced for use in automotive waste heat data recovery. Especially, two little thermoelectric generators have been designed: one based on silicide materials and another on telluride materials. Silicide and lead telluride (Pb/Te) based materials had been synthesised and then processed using spark plasma sintering to produce thermo-electric materials with performance similar to that discovered in the literature. The thermoelectric products have been integrated with control and energy electronics. The most appropriate solution was selected for mounting onto a hot air testrig where the exhaust of a 2litre gas automobile was simulated to establish its overall performance. This, in addition to estimated manufacturing and offering costs, had been used to evaluate the new technology's commercial attractiveness. When completed the system will draw out waste heat from the exhaust that will deliver direct current electrical power to the car electric system and hence reduce the alternator need offering enhanced fuel effectiveness by as much as 5 %.

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