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Sterling hybrid car, will it work?

  1. Nov 11, 2004 #1
    What do you all think about the following idea?

    A hybrid car could be built using a regular internal combustion engine, with a few small sterling engines connected to a battery resting on top of it. The car will start running on the internal combustion engine, and as it is running the heat from the engine will power the sterlings, which, through an electric motor (or generator) will charge the battery. When the battery is fully charged, the car will run on the battery's power. When the battery is depleted, the car will run on the internal combustion engine, and the battery will be recharged.

    Is this feasable?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 12, 2004 #2
    Increasing efficiency of internal combustion engines by tapping waste heat


    • Hi-Z has built a 1kW generator to utilize the waste heat of the engine of a class 8 diesel truck. This thermoelectric generator can be employed as a substitute for the truck engine alternator. Power to the driveshaft increases by three to five horsepower, which increases fuel efficiency and reduces emissions.

      Seventy-two HZ-14 modules generate electric power from the heat in the exhaust stream. The generator is located in the exhaust gas line after the engine turbocharger. Heat from the cold side of the thermoelectric generator is removed by circulating water to a standard automotive radiator.
  4. Nov 12, 2004 #3
    Is this "thermoelectric generator" a sterling engine? If there are no other engines that are powered by heat, obviously it must be a sterling. But is this so?
  5. Nov 12, 2004 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    No, its a peltier device - its a semiconductor device that converts heat energy directly into electrical energy, similar to the way a thermocouple thermometer works. Click the link for the "HZ-14 module."

    edit: I've been wondering about the economics of peltiers as generators. I've never seen a generator of this type except for the RTGs in space probes, and I assumed it must be due to cost. But I recently bought a 40mm square one for $5, and it can produce on the order of 100w of electricity. At 100w, $5 gives you about 400 hours from the grid - figure about a month of daylight. And I have to assume that $5 is a super-high price based on super-low production, because these things aren't something you can buy at WallMart.

    edit: maybe I'm wrong about the capabilities. I need to look into this further....
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2004
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