Thermoelectric Green Cars: Revitalizing our World
In a world where we threaten our global ecosystem each and every day, some manufacturers are stepping up to do their part in creating a sustainable future.
A leading technology known as an Automotive Thermoelectric Generator (ATEG) is leading the charge to a greener future. With a traditional internal combustion engine, anywhere from 40%-60% of energy produced by the burning of gasoline is released as waste in the form of heat.
By converting the waste heat from an internal combustion engine into electricity, a process known as the Seebeck Effect, this device reduces the amount of energy used. The Seebeck Effect is a way to convert heat directly into electricity at the meeting of different types of wire. This process is named after German physicist Thoman Seebeck who discovered it in 1821. Despite their price and added weight to a vehicle, ATEGs are a brilliant way to bring about a cleaner world.
The goal with this technology is to reduce a vehicle’s fuel consumption and operating costs. This means that in addition to running easier and longer, a car with this device also produces less emissions! By reducing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, an Automotive Thermoelectric Generator can successfully improve fuel efficiency. However, ATEGs do have drawbacks, including low temperature limits (500 degree Celsius) and relatively low efficiency (~5%).
When combined with another leading technology for heat waste management, heat pipes, ATEGs have the potential to create a completely solid state, passive heat recovery system!