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GMZ Energy’s TEG Improves Vehicle Fuel Efficiency

GMZ Energy says it has successfully demonstrated a nano-structured, high-temperature thermoelectric generation (TEG) designed for automotive waste heat recapture.

The unit generated an output power well in excess of its 200-watt design goal. GMZ Energy built the TEG as a part of an ongoing vehicle efficiency research program sponsored by the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and administered by the Department of Energy.

The goal of the TARDEC TEG program is to develop a thermoelectric solution that directly converts exhaust waste heat into electrical energy to increase fuel efficiency by reducing the load on the alternator. The project also aims to reduce thermal signature and muffle engine noise, all while minimizing exhaust pressure drop.

There are no moving parts in the solid-state design of GMZ Energy’s TEG, which enables the very high reliability, mechanical robustness and silent operation necessary for military applications, the company says. With total delivered fuel costs on the battlefield in excess of $40 per gallon, the US military is interested in pursuing this economical fuel efficiency solution across a broad range of applications and will first test GMZ Energy’s TEG in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

The 200W TEG is a modular component of a larger 1,000W TEG that GMZ Energy is developing for the $1.5 million TARDEC program. Combining a module approach with a scalable thermoelectric heat exchanger design, GMZ Energy will integrate multiple 200W blocks into a single 1,000W diesel engine waste heat recovery solution. The TARDEC TEG incorporates GMZ Energy’s TG8-1.0 thermoelectric modules, which are the first commercially available, off-the-shelf modules capable of operating with continuous hot-side temperatures up to 600°C while at power densities greater than one Watt/cm².

In October, General Motors and TARDEC expanded a collaboration to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology. GM and TARDEC agreed to jointly test hydrogen fuel cell-relation materials and designs to evaluate their performance and durability before assembling them into full-scale fuel cell propulsion systems. The joint project will continue for up to five years.

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