Thursday, October 04, 2007

Saving Billions of Dollars by Using Waste Heat

Thermoelectric generating devices are currently only about 8% efficient. But even at those low efficiencies, they might be able to save billions of dollars worth of fossil fuel a year in the US.
Tritt said more than 60 percent of the energy that goes into an automotive combustion cycle is lost, primarily to waste heat through the exhaust or radiator system.

“Even at the current efficiencies of thermoelectric devices, 7 to 8 percent, more than 1.5 billion gallons of diesel could be saved each year in the U.S. if thermoelectric generators were used on the exhaust of heavy trucks. That translates into billions of dollars saved,” Tritt said.

Waste heat is a huge potential resource, ripe for the plucking. Using either heat engines or thermoelectric devices--specially customised for the purpose--many billions of dollars in energy costs could easily be saved. We should also expect that the best uses for waste heat have yet to be discovered.



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