Car CO2 emissions are to be limited to 120 g/km for all new passenger cars by 2012. If they are unable to achieve targets, then this may have a significant negative impact on manufacturers. Cars also produce emissions such as Nitrogen oxides, Hydrocarbons, Carbon monoxide and particulate matter which are subject to tight controls. For marine application, existing and forthcoming legislation is aiming at reducing the emissions of Carbon Monoxide, Hydrocarbons and particulate matter. In addition, concerns about rising fuel costs are driving the need for greater fuel efficiencies. As a result, a disruptive technology step is required that will enable the manufactures or cars and marine engines to meet the forthcoming legislative standards. One very attractive way of achieving this is to generate power from the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) waste heat.
A prototype system created by BMW can generate up to 250W of electricity under normal driving conditions that can cut fuel consumption by up to 2%. However, the thermo-electric materials used for these applications to date have a number of clear limitations as they can be easily thermally damaged, are expensive and only achieve low efficiencies.
The POWER DRIVER project aims to overcome the limitations relating to the production of an automotive and marine power generation system by integrating cutting-edge nano-structured silicide and functionally graded telluride thermo-electric materials into a heat exchanger assembly that will enable electrical power to be generated from the exhaust system without affecting back-pressure or engine balance. By doing this, the exhaust system created will offer greatly improved environmental performance due to improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions (CO2, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulates) at a cost that is affordable to the end-user. It is predicted that (even if the additional weight of the unit is considered) fuel efficiency will increase by at least 5%, leading to a corresponding 5% reduction in emissions.
Fields of science
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Funding SchemeBSG-SME - Research for SMEs