Recuperating waste heat under the hood – Phys.Org

In spite of the efforts of automobile manufacturers, nearly 70% of the fuel consumption is dissipated as heat into the environment. The problem is that the temperature of the waste heat is too low to be converted in a useful manner. However, there is a thermodynamic system that can exploit these differences in temperature to produce electricity: the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC). It’s currently only used in recuperating industrial heat (in cement production), biomass production and geothermal energy applications. The ORC operates similarly to a steam engine, except that the water is replaced by organic fluid such as propane. Pumped within a hermetically sealed circuit, the fluid is heated and evaporated, then passed through a turbine, then condensed back into liquid form to start the cycle over again.

Source: phys.org

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