Waste Heat Recovery for Light-Duty Truck Application Using ThermoAcoustic Converter Technology
Nearly a third of the fuel energy is wasted through the exhaust of a vehicle. An efficient waste heat recovery process will undoubtedly lead to improved fuel efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Currently, there are multiple waste heat recovery technologies that are being investigated in the auto industry. One innovative waste heat recovery approach uses Thermoacoustic Converter (TAC) technology. Thermoacoustics is the field of physics related to the interaction of acoustic waves (sonic power) with heat flows. As in a heat engine, the TAC produces electric power where a temperature differential exists, which can be generated with engine exhaust (hot side) and coolant (cold side). Essentially, the TAC converts exhaust waste heat into electricity in two steps: 1) the exhaust waste heat is converted to acoustic energy (mechanical) and 2) the acoustic energy is converted to electrical energy.