Exhausting power

Cardiff University researchers are exploring how waste heat from car exhausts could provide a new green power supply for vehicles.

Using thermocouples, such as those used to control central heating and refrigerator temperature, Professor Mike Rowe believes vehicle efficiency could be improved by converting exhaust heat into eletricity.

‘The main interest in cars is to decrease the petrol consumption and reduce CO2 emissions,’ said Rowe. ‘If you can utilise the exhaust heat you could replace the alternator. This would provide a five per cent saving in fuel straightaway.

‘Thermoelectric generation is a green solution. It can, in many instances, cost less than solar energy. It has huge potential yet it has been neglected in the UK.’