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Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) are highly promising for energy harvesting applications . Currently, TEGs are mainly utilized in self-sustaining sensor systems where small amounts of energy (milli-Watt-range) are sufficient. Since the efficiency of TEGs can be increased due to new materials and technologies they become interesting to be used in passenger cars as an alternative to the alternator [2, 3]. In these vehicles the thermal energy of the exhaust gas of the car engine could potentially provide the required energy. This paper presents the results of a feasibility study and the life cycle inventory of TEG modules that should replace the alternator of a passenger car. Within this life cycle inventory, the cradle-to-gate energy efforts are estimated.
Date of Conference: 9-13 May 2012