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Gentherm Awarded Contract Expansion From U.S. Department of Energy to Develop Thermoelectric-Based Energy Recovery System and Improve Heavy Vehicle Fuel Efficiency


Extends Existing Program Technology for Passenger Cars to Large Diesel Engines; Provides Tool for Military Heavy Vehicles, Class 8 Trucks, Marine and Industrial Power Generating Equipment

NORTHVILLE, MI--Sept. 28, 2012: Gentherm , the global market leader and a developer of innovative thermal management technologies, today announced that it has received a $1.55 million contract modification from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to apply the technology in its innovative thermoelectric generator (TEG) for passenger cars to a similar program for heavy vehicles. The TEG technology, which converts waste heat from gas exhaust into electric energy and has the potential to improve passenger car fuel efficiency by as much as 5 percent, was featured in Car and Driver as one of 2012's 10 most promising future technologies.

The grant is an add-on to the $8 million award from the DOE in August 2011 for converting thermoelectric heat to power for passenger cars and extends the technology to heavy military vehicles.  With the addition of this project, Gentherm adds the U.S. Army Tank Automotive, Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) to its passenger car key partners Ford and BMW.

The project, to be completed by early 2015, will scale up the passenger car TEG and integrate it with a 15-liter diesel engine to provide fuel economy improvement and auxiliary power for combat vehicles.

This add-on leverages the existing program technology to large diesel engines, providing a new tool for military heavy vehicles, Class 8 trucks, marine and industrial power generating equipment.

President and Chief Executive Officer Daniel R. Coker said utilizing thermoelectric heat to power to achieve improvement in energy efficiency has always been among Gentherm's goals in its far-reaching development of thermoelectric technology.

"We believe our thermoelectric technology will demonstrate important advances in energy efficiency in heavy vehicles, while providing a source of ignition-off auxiliary power, helping to support the Army's mission while establishing an important tool for other large diesel power plants," Coker added.

"Over the last several years, we have worked very closely with the Department of Energy and our other partners in the development of a fully functional thermoelectric generator," Coker said. "We believe we can build on our recent technical achievement of delivering to BMW and Ford working prototypes of the generator that are currently producing a significant amount of electricity.  With this additional funding from the DOE, Gentherm and our partners will begin to address the manufacturability and commercialization of this potentially breakthrough technology for heavy vehicles as well as passenger cars."

Gentherm is the world's largest supplier of thermoelectric technologies in the global automotive market and a leader in the conversion of waste heat into electric power in automobiles. Gentherm began working on a second DOE-funded thermoelectric heat to power project in 2011 and is leading a multi-phase project to commercialize a system for waste heat recovery in passenger vehicles.

Gentherm is best known globally for its Climate Control SeatŪ System that uses thermoelectric technology to actively heat and cool seats in vehicles made by the world's leading automotive manufacturers.