The Value of Component in the Loop Approaches to Exhaust Energy Management in Hybrid Vehicles
Recent work on thermo-electric (TE) systems has highlighted the need for refined heat transfer design as well as the long standing need for improved materials performance. Recent work on heat transfer for TE systems has shown that enhanced heat transfer is needed over and above what would normally be seen in a vehicle exhaust system. In particular a better understanding of flow development and boundary layer behaviour is needed to support new design proposals. In the meantime, recent work in TE materials suggests that with the use of skutterudites significant performance benefits can accrue over existing materials. The current generation of TE materials have non-dimensional thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT) values of around 1. Skutterudites have been demonstrated to have ZT values of about 1.4 and can maintain these values over a wider temperature range than do existing materials through the engineering of the TE device.