Peltier Chips in a Cars Radiator


Introduction: Peltier Chips in a Cars Radiator

I will admit I've never worked with a peltier chip or know much about them but, I wanted to share an idea I have for a more fuel efficient car.

In this diagram I have edited a skemmatic of an engines water cooling system to incorporate two water blocks similar to what you might find in a water cooled PC A large peltier chip  and a secondary water pump.

So I'm thinking this would be a great way to extract more energy out of the internal combustion engine, to be used with an electric motor  in a  hybrid car. Only down sides I can see would be the heat transfer from one water block  through the peltier chip into the next waterblock to be expelled and the fact you need 2 water pumps...

anybody think  this is a good idea? I'd love to hear your input.



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    13 Discussions

    Trying to come up withe something similar myself. But this seems overly complicated. Would simply add in a new radiator core and mount the peltier devices to the front, then add heatsinks to the peltier devices. have it in a location where it would be air cooled. Most vehicle cooling systems are around 190-210 degrees but at the core it would be a bit cooler and should keep you under the 180f/100c mark. With ambient air on the opposite side you would be looking at an 80°-180° degree temp difference depending on location once vehicle reaches operating temperature. May not be possible for area I have to work with, but the goal would be around 14v and 20-30 amps for what i am trying to do.

    seems both of us working on the same project. This idea also came to my mind and soon shall start working on this

    Depending on how much power you could obtain from the chip, to run the computer or ECM, dash lights and gauges... Possibly a stereo... the gain could be reduced engine drag from eliminating (or reducing the size) of the alternator.

    think its a good idea, effort of car is to lose radiator heat, it is going spare, look up hi temperature peltier... when building biodiesel fuel heating you take a pipe off the water system before the internal car heating system, take another pipe off the cold or have a seperate cold sink, dont try and attach it to original vibrating manifolds, broken in ten miles, bring the water into the peltier system and send it back so you can house your peltiers safely and have a degree of control over water tempurature, regulator straight to battery - only thing is, driven car designed to keep batteries fully charged all the time so where does the charge go? charging a full battery is lost charge, nothing happened

    is there a water circuit in an electric car ? if not you can you maybe the heat from the engine ?

    My Thermondynamics Professor has a Postgrad student looking into attaching an array of Peltiers to the outside of the exhaust pipe to power the vehicle's electronics. The problem with peltiers is they're inefficient at converting heat energy to electricity, so only produce a few volts- Many peltiers are needed to get back any significant heat lost in the form of electrical current. They are also rather fragile things.

    1 reply

    He's said today they start to break down at >90Degrees C. Once the materials are better however , using peltier chips to recover excess heat in situations like this will make them viable.

    There are more problems than what had already been stated. First TECs are expensive and have an extremely low power density/efficiency. The owner would never see a return on investment. Second, an exterior mount in a vehicle would limit the lifetime of the modules. TECs also have non-linear responses to heat/cooling loads and can become unstable. This idea has been explored by a lot of research groups. The most likely location would be in the exhaust. Remember the law of thirds for combustion. 1/3 power, heat through block, and heat through exhaust. The largest delta T would be cylinder walls/head or exhaust manifolds.


    4 years ago

    The only limiting factor with a peltier is the have a maximum temp rating mostly rated at no more than 100oC but the true limiting temperature is the point where solder melts depending on what solder the manufacturer has used it would usually be between 100-300oC but they can be made with melting point up to 450oC but it costs far more to make them so standard ones cannot take extreme temperature above 100oC u could ave specifically designed peltiers but cost way out ways gains!

    Peltiers are not very efficient. You need to have the greatest difference in temperature possible from one side vs. the other. A better location would be on the catalytic converted which gets very hot and have the other side air cooled. Still not efficient but much better.



    4 years ago

    It really isn't that effective to use as a buckup hybrid style system current supply isn't great enough to charge a mass of battery's it may be possible to replace an alternator with many 500+ chips to keep charge in a battery but for cycling use not that great I have spent time working on this idea but water and glycol is way cheaper and more effective at the moment it would not be cost effective. They also work best with a large temperature difference so using them on an exhaust system would yield better volts and currents for charging applications

    It would probably be easier to put it between the radiator inlet and outlet. What it looks like in your drawing is that you added a whole second water system. You'll have to have something active in there to route around anything you add though. There's a reason why the radiator and pumps are spec'd the size they are.

    Sounds a bit like something for nothing, and that's not allowed. On the other hand, the energy is there for the taking. Wouldn't it be better to mount the chip directly to engine and use the radiator to cool the chip?