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There are a variety of techniques and tools that allow an internal combustion engine to capture more of its energy and direct it to moving your car down the road as opposed to sending that energy out of your exhaust. Most of these tools are difficult to use and maintain. They simply are not ready for primetime. However, with the virtual collapse of the automotive manufacturers in the US, it is not likely they are going to be increasing their R&D on getting more performance out of the engines that they make. It is an unfortunate reality that cars are sold on other things than their efficiencies.
Looking at alternatives for getting this to work may be our best chance of reducing pollution (including CO2) via using less gasoline to propel our cars the same distance.
From the Heat2Power website:
Tags: automobiles, CO2, diesel, economy, electric, emissions, gasoline, GM, pollution, temperature, waste heat
The heat2power system is based on the use of one or more cylinders for the regeneration of waste heat. These cylinders can be in replacement of the combustion cylinders inside an existing engine or as an add-on module that is connected to the engine by means of a gear set or a belt drive. Also is it possible to have no mechanical linkage between combustion engine and regeneration unit in case the power from the regeneration unit is taken off electrically. In general for low cost of installation and development we recommend OEMs to use an add-on system. In that way the original engine remains basically unchanged.
The thermal power is extracted from the exhaust of the internal combustion engine by means of a heat exchanger. This is an gas-gas heat exchanger operating at high temperatures: up to about 950°C. Basically the heat2power system works like most other thermodynamic cycles : intake and compress a gas, then heat it up and finally let it expand. The difference between an ICE and the heat2power system is that the heat input is not by a combustion inside the cylinder but by heat exchange external to the cylinder.
After the expansion stroke the air is released at low temperatures (250-300°C instead of 600-950°C). This can also be considered as an advantage for military vehicle that require a low thermal profile.
The heat exchanger in the exhaust is placed after the catalyst (gasoline vehicles) or after the particle filter (diesel vehicles). In such manner the exhaust gas after treatment remains unaffected and the combustion engine does not need its tuning to be done all over again. However we recommend to apply thermal insulation of the exhaust manifold and the first part of the exhaust and catalyst/DPF so that a maximum amount of heat is available for the regeneration process.