Thermoelectric generators can use waste engine heat by converting it into electricity, reducing load on the alternator. Poorna Rodrigo reports.

The benefit of thermoelectric materials, which convert heat directly into electricity, is partly lost because of their low conversion yield, experts argue, and when thermoelectric generators try to capture waste engine heat to improve vehicles’ fuel economy the gain still is minimal.

But a group of researchers from German Aerospace Centre (DLR) along with Japanese manufacturer Yamaha are trying to address the problem by developing thermoelectric materials with high efficiencies that could cut fuel consumption up to 5% for on-road and rail vehicles.

Reinhard Sottong, physicist and research associate at the centre’s Institute of Materials Research, tells WardsAuto thermoelectric materials come in many forms, and the challenge is building thermoelectric modules out of these materials linked to metallic conductors that guide the electrical current. This article first appeared in WardsAuto.

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