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BMW wants to use NASA technology to boost fuel efficiency

News | March 11th, 2009 by 3
BMW EfficientDynamics

Last week, we posted a controversial article on BMW’s plans to use a radioactive heat-collector that will  help with fuel savings. The original article was …

BMW EfficientDynamics

Last week, we posted a controversial article on BMW’s plans to use a radioactive heat-collector that will  help with fuel savings. The original article was published by Autocar UK and it started lots of controversial topics on the internet.

The misunderstanding started from the following statement:

Deep space probes often do use radioactive materials to generate electricity, being that they are too far away from the sun to use solar panels.They just use the heat generated by the decaying radioactive materials to drive a thermoelectric generator… the same sort of generator that BMW plans to use. But BMW will just use waste heat from the exhaust instead of heat from decaying radioactive material.

But, Reuters comes to the rescue and puts together a detailed article:

Engineers at the BMW’s high tech experimental lab in Palo Alto, California are attempting to adapt the thermoelectric system for cars that NASA scientists employ to help power their deep space probes navigating the far reaches of the solar system, BMW’s director of vehicle integration told Reuters.

The NASA probes use so-called radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) which transform heat emitted from naturally decaying plutonium into electricity. BMW wants to bring this concept back to earth by reclaiming the thermal energy released in engine combustion.

“I firmly believe that when you look at this technology in 20 years, this will be the key issue that will replace everything else,” Hans Rathgeber told Reuters in Geneva.

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  • Giom

    “I firmly believe that when you look at this technology in 20 years, this will be the key issue that will replace everything else,”

    I believe that! Waisted energy has gone waisted for far too long. This seems like the most logical way to use exhaust gas heat.

    Oh oh… BMW is pioneering again… what will the masses say?

  • Doug

    Yeah! Heat wasting needs to be rooted out and stomped on!

    Actually, there’s a great deal of heat wasted through the engine block. They should really find a way to avoid absorbing the heat generated inside the cylinder, by lining it with some highly non-conductive material. That heat and mechanical energy saved would be used by the piston, turbochargers and whatever exhaust-heat converting gizmo they’re thinking of.

    Btw, some interesting links below regarding thermoelectric junk:
    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2008/07/material-may-help-autos-turn-heat-into-electricity-53145
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13545-nanomaterial-turns-radiation-directly-into-electricity.html?feedId=energy-fuels_rss20

    Well, interesting to me, anyway.

  • http://www.mycarportal.net Njave

    Were just waiting for the right time go on with these kind of energy sources, and hopefully it will come into use as soon as possible and clean up the nature just a littlebit before it’s to late.

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