Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Technology uses auto exhaust heat to create electricity, boost mileage

Purdue mechanical engineering doctoral student Yaguo Wang works with a high-speed laser at the Birck Nanotechnology Center to study thermoelectric generators. The devices harvest heat from an engine's exhaust to generate electricity, which could reduce a car's fuel consumption. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
Purdue mechanical engineering doctoral student Yaguo Wang works with a high-speed laser at the Birck Nanotechnology Center to study thermoelectric generators. The devices harvest heat from an engine's exhaust to generate electricity, which could reduce a car's fuel consumption. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)

Abstract:
Researchers are creating a system that harvests heat from an engine's exhaust to generate electricity, reducing a car's fuel consumption.

Technology uses auto exhaust heat to create electricity, boost mileage

West Lafayette, IN | Posted on November 24th, 2010

The effort is funded with a $1.4 million, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. A Purdue University team is collaborating with General Motors, which is developing a prototype using thermoelectric generators, or TEGs, said Xianfan Xu, a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering.

TEGs generate an electric current to charge batteries and power a car's electrical systems, reducing the engine's workload and improving fuel economy.

The prototype, to be installed in the exhaust system behind the catalytic converter, will harvest heat from gases that are about 700 degrees Celsius, or nearly 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit, Xu said.

Current thermoelectric technology cannot withstand the temperatures inside catalytic converters, where gases are about 1,000 degrees Celsius, he said. However, researchers also are working on new thermoelectrics capable of withstanding such high temperatures, a step that would enable greater fuel savings.

The project begins January 1. The first prototype aims to reduce fuel consumption by 5 percent, and future systems capable of working at higher temperatures could make possible a 10 percent reduction, said Xu, whose work is based at the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue's Discovery Park.

The research team, led by Xu, involves Purdue faculty members Timothy Fisher, a professor of mechanical engineering; Stephen Heister, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics; Timothy Sands, the Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering, a professor of materials engineering and electrical and computer engineering, and executive vice president for academic affairs and provost; and Yue Wu, an assistant professor of chemical engineering.

The thermoelectric material is contained in chips a few inches square that will be tailored for their specific location within the system.

"They are optimized to work best at different temperatures, which decrease as gas flows along the system," Xu said.

The researchers are tackling problems associated with the need to improve efficiency and reliability, to integrate a complex mix of materials that might expand differently when heated, and to extract as much heat as possible from the exhaust gases.

Thermoelectric materials generate electricity when there is a temperature difference.

"The material is hot on the side facing the exhaust gases and cool on the other side, and this difference must be maintained to continually generate a current," said Xu, who has been collaborating with GM in thermoelectric research for about a decade.

A critical research goal is to develop materials that are poor heat conductors.

"You don't want heat to transfer rapidly from the hot side to the cool side of the chip," Xu said. "You want to maintain the temperature difference to continuously generate current."

Researchers at GM are using a thermoelectric material called skutterudite, a mineral made of cobalt, arsenide, nickel or iron.

"The biggest challenge is system-level design - how to optimize everything to get as much heat as possible from the exhaust gas," Xu said. "The engine exhaust has to lose as much heat as possible to the material."

Rare-earth elements, such as lanthanum, cesium, neodymium and erbium, reduce the thermal conductivity of skutterudite. The elements are mixed with skutterudite inside a furnace. Because using pure rare-earth elements is costly, researchers also are working to replace them with alloys called "mischmetals."

The work builds on previous research at Purdue involving the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Rolls-Royce University Technology Center.

Findings, as well as teaching- and research-oriented materials from the project will be provided via websites including Purdue's nanoHUB and thermalHUB Web portals. The research will provide graduate and undergraduate students with training in interdisciplinary areas and industrial experience through internships.

Thermoelectric technologies also might be used in other applications such as harnessing waste heat to generate electricity in homes and power plants and for a new type of solar cell and solid-state refrigerator, Xu said.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Writer:
Emil Venere
765-494-4709


Source:
Xianfan Xu
765-494-5639

Copyright © Purdue University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

NanoSafe, Inc. announces the addition of the Labconco Protector® Glove Box to its NanoSafe Tested™ registry April 23rd, 2014

Study finds long-term survival of human neural stem cells transplanted into primate brain April 23rd, 2014

High-Performance, Low-Cost Ultracapacitors Built with Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes: Future devices based on technology could bridge gap between batteries and conventional capacitors in portable electronics and hybrid electric vehicles April 23rd, 2014

Guo Lab Shows Potential of RNA as Heat-resistant Polymer Material for Nanoarchitectures April 23rd, 2014

Chemistry

Thinnest feasible membrane produced April 17th, 2014

Targeting cancer with a triple threat: MIT chemists design nanoparticles that can deliver three cancer drugs at a time April 15th, 2014

Scientists Succeed in Simultaneous Determination of Acetaminophen, Codeine in Drug Samples April 9th, 2014

Making clothes from sugar: IBN researchers have found a green and efficient method to produce nylon from sugar April 1st, 2014

Possible Futures

Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles April 10th, 2014

Local girl does good March 22nd, 2014

Surface Characteristics Influence Cellular Growth on Semiconductor Material March 12th, 2014

The "Tipping Point" February 12th, 2014

Academic/Education

Global leader in solar cell manufacturing eyes New York for major expansion outside of Japan: CNSE and Solar Frontier Explore $700 Million Investment, Job Creation in New York State April 22nd, 2014

University of Waterloo Visits China to Strengthen Bonds With Research Partners April 21st, 2014

Director Wally Pfister joins UC Berkeley neuroengineers to discuss the science behind ‘Transcendence’ April 7th, 2014

First annual science week highlights STEM pipeline and partnerships: UB, SUNY Buffalo State and ECC team up with the City of Buffalo and its schools for April 7-11 events April 3rd, 2014

Announcements

NanoSafe, Inc. announces the addition of the Labconco Protector® Glove Box to its NanoSafe Tested™ registry April 23rd, 2014

Study finds long-term survival of human neural stem cells transplanted into primate brain April 23rd, 2014

High-Performance, Low-Cost Ultracapacitors Built with Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes: Future devices based on technology could bridge gap between batteries and conventional capacitors in portable electronics and hybrid electric vehicles April 23rd, 2014

Guo Lab Shows Potential of RNA as Heat-resistant Polymer Material for Nanoarchitectures April 23rd, 2014

Environment

Trees go high-tech: process turns cellulose into energy storage devices April 7th, 2014

Fabricating Nanostructures with Silk Could Make Clean Rooms Green Rooms March 31st, 2014

University of Waterloo Engineering to Showcase Student Design March 14th, 2014

Iran Applying Nanotechnology in Growing Number of Industries March 10th, 2014

Energy

Like a hall of mirrors, nanostructures trap photons inside ultrathin solar cells April 22nd, 2014

Global leader in solar cell manufacturing eyes New York for major expansion outside of Japan: CNSE and Solar Frontier Explore $700 Million Investment, Job Creation in New York State April 22nd, 2014

Nanoreporters tell 'sour' oil from 'sweet': Rice University's hydrogen sulfide nanoreporters gather intel on oil before pumping April 22nd, 2014

High-temperature plasmonics eyed for solar, computer innovation April 17th, 2014

Automotive/Transportation

High-Performance, Low-Cost Ultracapacitors Built with Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes: Future devices based on technology could bridge gap between batteries and conventional capacitors in portable electronics and hybrid electric vehicles April 23rd, 2014

Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries: Lithium-sulfur batteries last longer with nanomaterial-packed cathode April 16th, 2014

Tiny particles could help verify goods: Chemical engineers hope smartphone-readable microparticles could crack down on counterfeiting April 15th, 2014

Nanotech Business Review 2013-2014 April 9th, 2014

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

National Space Society Congratulates SpaceX on the Success of CRS-3 and the First Flight of the Falcon 9R April 22nd, 2014

Energy Research Facility Construction Project at Brookhaven Lab Wins U.S. Energy Secretary's Achievement Award April 16th, 2014

IDTechEx Printed Electronics Europe 2014 Award Winners April 1st, 2014

Dais Analytic Wins SBIR Grant: Dais Analytic Receives US Army Small Business Innovation Research Grant to Further Its Demonstrated Successes in Cleaning Most Forms of Wastewater March 28th, 2014

Solar/Photovoltaic

Like a hall of mirrors, nanostructures trap photons inside ultrathin solar cells April 22nd, 2014

Global leader in solar cell manufacturing eyes New York for major expansion outside of Japan: CNSE and Solar Frontier Explore $700 Million Investment, Job Creation in New York State April 22nd, 2014

High-temperature plasmonics eyed for solar, computer innovation April 17th, 2014

A molecular approach to solar power: Switchable material could harness the power of the sun — even when it’s not shining April 15th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE







  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE