Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting from Small Aircraft Engines 2009-01-3093
Small, two-stroke engines are widely used in UAV applications because of their attractive power-to-weight ratios and the ready availability of energy-dense fuel sources. However, poor fuel efficiency diminishes the attractiveness of these engines. The impact of this poor fuel efficiency is heightened when the engine is required to generate electric power in addition to power for propulsion. This paper explores the exploitation and optimization of harvesting “waste energy” in the form of heat in the engine's exhaust gas stream to provide an onboard electrical power source with no moving parts and minimal impact on fuel consumption.