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Technology Converts Exhaust Heat from Diesel Engine into Electricity

Cool Energy has successfully demonstrated technology to convert wasted heat into electricity for commercial, industrial and military applications.

The waste heat recovery technology can boost the fuel efficiency of small diesel engines around the world, potentially reducing fossil fuel use by 10 percent, according to Cool Energy.

Boulder, Colo.-based Cool Energy has created a Stirling engine system that captures the exhaust energy of an internal combustion engine and converts it into electricity with no extra carbon emissions. The company connected its patented 3 kW SolarHeart Engine system to a standard 30 kW diesel generator to produce additional electricity from waste heat that would otherwise be lost. This innovation can boost the performance of all types of engines – whether they are powered by diesel, gasoline or natural gas.

More than 60 percent of the energy created by engine generators is lost as wasted heat. Cool Energy says it has achieved a 22 percent efficiency in heat to electricity conversion. Applied to distributed-electricity generators, this amounts to a 10 percent fuel savings. In mass production, the Stirling engine system will pay for itself in less than one year in many situations.

While the Stirling Engine has been around for almost 200 years, Cool Energy has pioneered several innovations in the engine design to make it practical to achieve record cost and fuel savings, including features such as oil-free self-lubricating pistons, highly effective heat exchangers, and a high-reliability design. The engine is housed in a fully sealed package designed to operate for more than 10 years with no internal service required.

Around the world, especially in remote areas and on islands, diesel generators are often the primary source of electricity. Operators using Cool Energy’s SolarHeart Engine will need 10 percent less diesel fuel transported to these locations.

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