Borla, a manufacturer of stainless-steel performance exhaust systems and Alphabet Energy, a thermoelectrics for waste heat recovery firm, have announced a nonexclusive partnership to deliver the industry’s first aftermarket thermoelectric fuel-efficiency product for vehicle internal combustion engines.
Sixty percent of the energy from fuel used in cars and trucks escapes through the exhaust tailpipe as waste heat, the partners say. Borla’s exhaust systems coupled with Alphabet Energy’s PowerModule thermoelectric generator has the potential to capture 5 to 10 percent of a car or truck’s waste heat and use it to improve fuel efficiency by reducing alternator loads or replacing the alternator entirely. This captured heat can be used to power the multitude of electrical components on a modern car normally powered by the energy-hungry alternator, such as lights, heating, air conditioning, sound, and navigation systems.
According to the US Department of Energy, a Class 8 truck traveling 150,000 to 200,000 miles per year averages $70,000 to $125,000 in fuel costs. For many, the lifetime fuel costs for a Class 8 truck are approximately five times the original purchase price of the vehicle. Heat captured by a Borla Exhaust and delivered to an Alphabet Energy’s PowerModule could deliver a fuel savings of 3 to 6 percent or as much as $7,500 per year, per Class 8 truck, the companies say.
Alphabet Energy’s PowerModules will undergo testing on both gasoline and diesel truck exhausts at Borla’s research and development centers in Oxnard, California and Johnson City, Tennessee. Based on positive results from the testing, the two companies intend to co-develop and commercialize the next-generation Borla Exhaust for trucks and other mobile and stationary internal combustion engines with Alphabet Energy PowerModules.
The partnership announcement follows the EPA and US Department of Transportation’s proposed fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks, released last Friday.