Development of Thermoelectric Exhaust Generator (TEG) Heat Recovery Systems for Marine Diesels

Thermoelectric materials are an enabling technology that allows the recapture of this wasted energy from heat sources, such as exhaust and coolant systems, which account for nearly 50% of the total combustion energy. If a fraction of the marine diesel's wasted energy could be harnessed and stored with high power density batteries, an electric drive system could be utilized to transport ships quietly and cleanly into and out of congested ports and high population centers. Overall, a dramatic reduction of the maritime industry's carbon footprint could be realized, as a modest 10% increase in engine efficiency translates into a savings of approximately 180,000 barrels of fuel per day on a world-wide basis. Solid state thermoelectric materials, when exposed to a thermal gradient, generate an electric potential according to the Seebeck effect. While the automobile industry has taken a lead in commercializing thermoelectric generators (TEG) as early as 2013, it is the marine industry that may well be the greater beneficiary of this technology. Economies of scale, the ability to generate a higher thermal gradient, and fewer weight and volume constraints, all suggest a promising feasibility for marine applications. The successful development of a hybrid thermoelectric vessel (green ship) at Maine Maritime Academy is an integral part of the Marine Engine Testing and Emissions Laboratory. Maine Maritime Academy, partnered with Thermoelectric Power Systems, LLC, has been conducting research and development in the applications of thermoelectric generators (TEGs) since 2008. The technical rationale behind the inclusion of thermoelectric research is comprised of the following objectives: (1) Provide data on the systems-wide effects of the use of TEGs on plant efficiency and performance (in a marine environment); (2) Identification of optimal marine platforms to utilize TEG energy recovery systems; (3) Identification of optimal thermoelectric materials and TEG designs for classes of marine platforms; (4) To provide the U.S. Department of Transportation with an objective and systems level evaluation of TEGs in marine applications


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Kimball, Richard

  • Performing Organizations:

    Marine Engine Testing and Emissions Laboratory

    Maine Maritime Academy
    Castine, ME  United States  04420
  • Principal Investigators:

    Kimball, Richard

  • Start Date: 20140701
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20170930
  • Source Data: RiP Project 36793

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01530214
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Marine Engine Testing and Emissions Laboratory
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC43, METEL-2014P776
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jul 11 2014 1:01AM