CleanTechnica is the #1 cleantech-focused
website
 in the world.


Clean Transport Amerigon's thermoelectric technology will convert waste heat from car exhaust to electricity.

Published on September 1st, 2009 | by Tina Casey

10

Car of the Future Will Run on Its Own Waste Energy



Amerigon\'s thermoelectric technology will convert waste heat from car exhaust to electricity.Electricity is the ultimate portable fuel, so running a car on electricity opens a world of possibilities in terms of harvesting and using sustainable energy while on the go.  Thermoelectric innovator Amerigon Incorporated has one especially interesting approach: capture the waste energy from the car’s engine exhaust and recycle it into electric power.  Through its BSST subsidiary and with $1.1 million in backing from the U.S Department of Energy, Amerigon is entering the fifth phase of the project.  Completion is targeted for March 31, 2010, and then look out, world.

[social_buttons]

Amerigon, BSST and Thermoelectric Energy

Amerigon’s BSST subsidiary has already applied thermoelectric recovery principles to heating and cooling systems.  It’s a logical choice for the project, having developed the highest-efficiency thermoelectric technology achieved so far.  The program kicked off in 2005 with a team including Visteon Corporation, BMW, UC Santa Cruz, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the California Institute of Technology’s Jet propulsion Laboratory.  Ford joined the project after analysis and concept phases established a fuel savings of up to 12% in simulations, and the thermoelectric system was bench-tested in the lab using hot gas instead of actual exhaust.  Phase 4, which is drawing to a close, involves testing the system on a BMW six-cylinder engine.

Cars as Energy Harvesters, and Energy Generators

The new technology promises a sea change in the way we conceive of cars as energy users – and producers.  For example, an electric car that harvests solar energy could also incorporate BSST’s thermoelectric system, while generating kinetic energy as it passes over a roadway – and using available wind as an additional power source.  In the not too distant future, cars that run only on fossil fuels will be just that – fossils.

Image: KoS on wikimediacommons.

Print Friendly

Tags: , , , ,


About the Author

Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



  • RnD – mrg

    OMG! Take a high school physics class, please! Perpetual motion doesn’t exist but perpetual stupidity does. The real war on education should be against the teacher’s unions that just want more money and don’t give a damn about teaching. Oh, I forgot, the flowers will fix everything.

  • RnD – mrg

    OMG! Take a high school physics class, please! Perpetual motion doesn’t exist but perpetual stupidity does. The real war on education should be against the teacher’s unions that just want more money and don’t give a damn about teaching. Oh, I forgot, the flowers will fix everything.

  • Paradigm_shift

    Well said, HSR0601. Those are some great points. Isn’t there someway that an electric car could be set up to perpetually charge from the rotation of its tires? Or is the point to have something(replacement batteries, charging station fees, etc.) to keep draining our wallets in the name of capitalism? I would think a system that charges itself from the kinetic energy produced by driving alone would be enough to keep a constant charge. Any ideas on the subject? It would be nice to see our money fight the real war in this country: education. Imagine what we could accomplish if we poured over 2 billion dollars into education every month. We wouldn’t have any wars, because everyone would be too smart and civil to each other, or solve the worlds problems before they got out of control. We will always have these wars and problems as long as we focus on the almighty dollar. Stop the hate. Spread the love, and increase the peace! Peace!

  • Paradigm_shift

    Well said, HSR0601. Those are some great points. Isn’t there someway that an electric car could be set up to perpetually charge from the rotation of its tires? Or is the point to have something(replacement batteries, charging station fees, etc.) to keep draining our wallets in the name of capitalism? I would think a system that charges itself from the kinetic energy produced by driving alone would be enough to keep a constant charge. Any ideas on the subject? It would be nice to see our money fight the real war in this country: education. Imagine what we could accomplish if we poured over 2 billion dollars into education every month. We wouldn’t have any wars, because everyone would be too smart and civil to each other, or solve the worlds problems before they got out of control. We will always have these wars and problems as long as we focus on the almighty dollar. Stop the hate. Spread the love, and increase the peace! Peace!

  • Susan Kraemer

    Great story Tina! Talk about a fossil free win-win-win-win!

  • Susan Kraemer

    Great story Tina! Talk about a fossil free win-win-win-win!

  • http://wildelycreative.wordpress.com @wildelycreative

    That’s great. But doesn’t it still need petrol to generate the waste energy, or have I missed something?

  • http://wildelycreative.wordpress.com @wildelycreative

    That’s great. But doesn’t it still need petrol to generate the waste energy, or have I missed something?

  • HSR0601

    Theme : Nissan Leaf will save the world, No Need For Heartbreaking Wars !

    Some say the Leaf and the i-MiEV have a cruising range of 160 km on one battery charge, that is about one-third of the distance a gas-powered car can cover on a full tank of fuel.

    In 21st century, home, workplace, or stores etc also serve as a power station as electricity is everywhere. And cars with a full tank of fuel don’t help MPG, as well.

    In this economy, fuel price is hovering around $60 to $75 a barrel, which indicates the actual value might be much the same as the peak price last year, and it will continue to spiral up unquestionably.

    All it takes for the entire world to live in peace would be to change our antique notion as technology is already here, energy independence lies in people’s will and attitude. Today, the size and scope of investing in future energy will determine the future and fate of a nation.

    1. The range of terrific EVs are sufficient to meet the daily driving needs of 95% of drivers ((The vast majority of people (95%) drive less than 160/km a day)).

    2. What’s more, as for long trip needs, all but Americans and many of developed nations have existing automobiles, in this regard, EVs are best suited to their daily use until the infrastructure comes into wide use.

    3. The price has not yet been announced, but Nissan says it will be priced similarly to a well-equipped sedan in the vicinity of the high $20,000 and with government tax break.

    4. Manufacturing volume, innovative battery technology will drive down cost.

    5. Little maintenance fee.

    6. MILES PER GALLON : MORE THAN 10 VS 1 (Leaf : 367MPG) compared with general combustion engine cars.

    Even excellent hybrid cars are not comparable to EVs in light of fuel economy.

    7. EVs will likely be less expensive for people to drive with low-cost nighttime charging.

    Sometimes EVs can be charged at workplaces or stores etc.

    8. Batteries will become more efficient on the whole and their price will drop, whereas the oil will simply go up and up as it becomes more scarce. As simple as that.

    9. EVs are simple and felt smoother and more torquey than the petrol models, and quiet, fun to drive.

    10. Better Place is partnering with Nissan to create the charging infrastructure and a system for swapping depleted batteries for fully charged batteries in less than 2 minutes. This can extend the range of the vehicle to hundreds of miles.

    11. Nissan has developed an IT system for its EVs, connecting the vehicle’s on-board transmitting unit to a global data centre to support EV driving 24 hours 7 days a week.

    The system shows the driving radius on a maximum range display under the current state of charge and calculates if the vehicle is within range of a pre-set destination. The navigation system points out the latest information on available charging stations within the current driving range

    12.. It can be recharged off 240-volt mains in eight hours or 80 per cent charged on special quick-charge “pumps” in about 30 minutes.

    13. It features a timer function that will start the car’s air-conditioner or battery charging at a specified time to benefit from more favorable electricity rates by a mobile phone or the Internet, as well. An SMS can be sent when the battery is fully charged and the car ready.

    14. The 24 kilowatt hours laminated compact lithium-ion battery pack is placed under the vehicle floor for more efficient packaging. The battery layout also allows smooth underfloor air-flow which helps reduce drag.

    15. The regenerative brake system employed to recharge the battery during deceleration and braking extends the driving range to more than 160 kilometres (depending on driving style and conditions) under a full charge.

    16. Durability is achieved by employing an additional frame for the battery pack to significantly improve the rigidity of the platform.

    17. The fully-electric drivetrain features a high-performance motor and a compact lithium-ion battery with high power output and energy capacity.

    Once the U.S. switches the ‘unsustainable’ war and military wasting like health care wasting into investing in a smart grid infrastructure, the entire world will live in peace. U.S. spend more on military than the next 25 countries combined.

  • HSR0601

    Theme : Nissan Leaf will save the world, No Need For Heartbreaking Wars !

    Some say the Leaf and the i-MiEV have a cruising range of 160 km on one battery charge, that is about one-third of the distance a gas-powered car can cover on a full tank of fuel.

    In 21st century, home, workplace, or stores etc also serve as a power station as electricity is everywhere. And cars with a full tank of fuel don’t help MPG, as well.

    In this economy, fuel price is hovering around $60 to $75 a barrel, which indicates the actual value might be much the same as the peak price last year, and it will continue to spiral up unquestionably.

    All it takes for the entire world to live in peace would be to change our antique notion as technology is already here, energy independence lies in people’s will and attitude. Today, the size and scope of investing in future energy will determine the future and fate of a nation.

    1. The range of terrific EVs are sufficient to meet the daily driving needs of 95% of drivers ((The vast majority of people (95%) drive less than 160/km a day)).

    2. What’s more, as for long trip needs, all but Americans and many of developed nations have existing automobiles, in this regard, EVs are best suited to their daily use until the infrastructure comes into wide use.

    3. The price has not yet been announced, but Nissan says it will be priced similarly to a well-equipped sedan in the vicinity of the high $20,000 and with government tax break.

    4. Manufacturing volume, innovative battery technology will drive down cost.

    5. Little maintenance fee.

    6. MILES PER GALLON : MORE THAN 10 VS 1 (Leaf : 367MPG) compared with general combustion engine cars.

    Even excellent hybrid cars are not comparable to EVs in light of fuel economy.

    7. EVs will likely be less expensive for people to drive with low-cost nighttime charging.

    Sometimes EVs can be charged at workplaces or stores etc.

    8. Batteries will become more efficient on the whole and their price will drop, whereas the oil will simply go up and up as it becomes more scarce. As simple as that.

    9. EVs are simple and felt smoother and more torquey than the petrol models, and quiet, fun to drive.

    10. Better Place is partnering with Nissan to create the charging infrastructure and a system for swapping depleted batteries for fully charged batteries in less than 2 minutes. This can extend the range of the vehicle to hundreds of miles.

    11. Nissan has developed an IT system for its EVs, connecting the vehicle’s on-board transmitting unit to a global data centre to support EV driving 24 hours 7 days a week.

    The system shows the driving radius on a maximum range display under the current state of charge and calculates if the vehicle is within range of a pre-set destination. The navigation system points out the latest information on available charging stations within the current driving range

    12.. It can be recharged off 240-volt mains in eight hours or 80 per cent charged on special quick-charge “pumps” in about 30 minutes.

    13. It features a timer function that will start the car’s air-conditioner or battery charging at a specified time to benefit from more favorable electricity rates by a mobile phone or the Internet, as well. An SMS can be sent when the battery is fully charged and the car ready.

    14. The 24 kilowatt hours laminated compact lithium-ion battery pack is placed under the vehicle floor for more efficient packaging. The battery layout also allows smooth underfloor air-flow which helps reduce drag.

    15. The regenerative brake system employed to recharge the battery during deceleration and braking extends the driving range to more than 160 kilometres (depending on driving style and conditions) under a full charge.

    16. Durability is achieved by employing an additional frame for the battery pack to significantly improve the rigidity of the platform.

    17. The fully-electric drivetrain features a high-performance motor and a compact lithium-ion battery with high power output and energy capacity.

    Once the U.S. switches the ‘unsustainable’ war and military wasting like health care wasting into investing in a smart grid infrastructure, the entire world will live in peace. U.S. spend more on military than the next 25 countries combined.

Back to Top ↑