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Gentherm To Feature Prototype Thermoelectric Cartridge for Waste Heat Recovery At Frankfurt International Motor Show


NORTHVILLE, MI and ODELZHAUSEN, Germany--Sept. 11, 2013: Gentherm Incorporated , the global market leader and a developer of innovative thermal management technologies, announced today it will feature its latest thermoelectric generator cartridge design for converting waste heat to electrical energy at the 65th annual International Motor Show September 10-13 in Frankfurt, Germany in Hall 4.1, Booth D23.

Gentherm is leading a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-funded project to develop a solution for capturing automobile waste exhaust heat and converting it to electrical energy to power electrical systems within the vehicle and to improve fuel economy. Partnering with Gentherm is Tenneco, a global developer of clean air and ride performance products and systems for the automotive industry, and two global vehicle manufacturers.

The project calls for Gentherm to supply modular, cylindrical-shaped thermoelectric cartridges that convert waste heat from the exhaust into electricity. Tenneco then integrates the cartridges inside a thermoelectric generator (TEG) that includes a unique heat exchanger. Tenneco will be displaying the complete TEG at its booth in Hall 5.1, Stand A16.

"Our new TEG cartridge design is the result of several years of research with the DOE and other important partners," said Gentherm President and Chief Executive Officer Daniel R. Coker. "We believe it is a breakthrough technology that has applications in a variety of global industries, but especially for automobiles in terms of reducing CO2 emissions, improving fuel economy and providing a new source of much-needed electricity. We are now working closely with Tenneco to integrate our thermoelectric cartridges into a new and innovative exhaust system design."

In a typical internal combustion engine, approximately 30 percent of the fuel energy is used for actual vehicle propulsion, while more than 70 percent is lost, about half of it through the vehicle's exhaust system. Thermoelectric generators help capture a portion of the lost energy, convert it to electricity and redistribute it to electrical systems in the vehicle, which can ultimately support improved fuel efficiency.

Inside the new TEG system, thermoelectric material is sandwiched together within the cartridges and exposed to hot exhaust gas on one side and to engine coolant on the other side. The temperature gradient over the thermoelectric material results in an electrical current flow, which is then redistributed to the vehicle. The cartridges use semiconductor materials that are abundant and environmentally benign. "The modular design of the TEG cartridges enables packaging scalability depending on vehicle design, making it more cost-effective to integrate into the vehicle's exhaust system," said Dr. Dmitri Kossakovski, Gentherm's R&D director and leader of the power generation team located in Azusa, California.

The U.S. DOE consortium anticipates that initial demonstrators will be available in 2014.

Visit Gentherm in Hall 4.1, Booth D23.