High Efficiency Combustion and Electric Generation in Vehicles Using Exhaust Heat

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When looking to boost the performance vehicle, some car owners will look toward installing a supercharger or turbocharger. They both have their own nuances, but overall, both work by increasing the air intake of the engine, allowing it to burn more fuel per cycle, and increasing the power output. However, turbochargers utilize exhaust pressure and cause backpressure with engine exhaust, preventing the system from operating at maximum efficiency. The supercharger utilizes the crankshaft torque, an extra parasitic loss to the engine, and reduces the brake torque. The underlying deficiencies create the demand for a system that can increase the power output of the engine without suffering consequences elsewhere.

Researchers at Purdue University have developed the Stirlocharger, a quadruple functionality design for automotive internal combustion engines composed of a thermal energy harvester from engine exhaust heat, an intake air compressor pump for high efficiency thermodynamic cycle, a speed amplifier, and power split for electric energy storage. The Stirlocharger upholds the intake pressure greater than the exhaust pressure to generate a positive pump work for high efficiency of internal combustion engines. Without the turbine blocking the exhaust manifold, the exhaust gases can flow unrestricted without extra back pressure that is typically caused by the forced induction turbocharger and less residual will remain in the combustion chamber. These effects maximize the mechanical and combustion efficiency while reducing NOx emissions. In addition, the key differentiator that makes the Stirlocharger unique is its capability to convert excess heat energy into electrical energy while the vehicle is in a low power state without affecting high demand performance. The Stirlocharger could be equipped in vehicle powertrains and be produced to improve the efficiency and make the vehicle powertrain greener.

-Split power functionality
-Reduced NOx
-Converts excess heat energy into electric energy

Potential Applications:
-Automobile industry
-Automobile accessories
Jul 13, 2016
Utility Patent
United States
Jun 4, 2019

Jul 13, 2015
United States
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
The Convergence Center
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Email: otcip@prf.org