Professor Mike Rowe OBE at Cardiff University is investigating ways to "green up" cars using something you're more likely to find in your home boiler - thermocouples.
Thermoelectric generators utilise dissimilar metals or semiconductors to produce electricity from a difference in temperatures. This is the key, Professor Rowe believes, to extracting waste energy - which normally escapes out of a car's exhaust, into something useful - electricity - reducing the burden on the vehicles alternator - reducing the load on the engine, or possibly even eliminating the complexity of an alternator altogether in favor of a solid-state solution.
Professor Rowe believes that 5% efficiency savings can be made by eliminating vehicles alternators and the load they place on the vehicles engine. Whilst we at EcoGeek are excited by future alternative vehicles and fuels, we also believe that there is a place for transitional solutions which help us to reduce the environmental footprint of existing vehicle technologies. ... and that's not the best news. Professor Rowe believes that the thermoelectric generation technology could also find a place in generating electricity from the sun - representing a potentially more cost-effective technology that present photovoltaic cells.
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