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Technical Paper

The Potential for Thermo-Electric Devices in Passenger Vehicle Applications

The promise of thermo-electric (TE) technology in vehicles is a low maintenance solid state device for power generation. The Thermo-Electric Generator (TEG) will be located in the exhaust system and will make use of an energy flow between the warmer exhaust gas and the external environment. The potential to make use of an otherwise wasted flow of energy means that the overall system efficiency can be improved substantially. One of the barriers to a successful application of the technology is the device efficiency. The TE properties of even the most advanced materials are still not sufficient for a practical, cost effective device. However the rate of development is such that practical devices are likely to be available within the next fifteen years. In a previous paper [ 1 ], the potential for such a device was shown through an integrated vehicle simulation and TEG model.