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.