Thermoelectric Generator Made to Integrate With a Muffler Improves Economy Up To 5%

In-muffler Thermoelectric Heat Generator prototype

In brief: Swiss researchers presented a prototype concept for a thermoelectric generator that integrates with a muffler to utilize vehicle waste heat to create electricity and improve fuel efficiency by up to 5%.

The word

Prototype TE system

The generator would fit within the muffler, rather than being a secondary unit on the exhaust line, simplifying the installation of the unit. The Materials Research Society's semi-annual meeting is being held in San Francisco this week and the Swiss researchers took the opportunity to explain their idea.

Prof. Dr. Juraj Cizmar and others from the Berner Fachhochschule and EMPA are developing the thermoelectric generator that requires no bypass for overheating and provides for low flow resistance.

To avoid the overheating problem, the design uses bimetallic strips that disengage the modules from the heat source when maximum operating temperature is reached.

Based on initial testing, the group believes that a suitable unit could provide power for a passenger vehicle, potentially replacing the friction-based alternator, improving fuel efficiency by up to 5%.

And so ...

Very cool design idea that is frankly a long time coming.

Photo credits: Thermoelectric waste heat recovery by Dr. Cizmar, et al.

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