Approved by Tier 1 suppliers and qualified to automotive standards, II-VI Marlow offers the utmost reliability and efficiency to high-volume producers in the automotive market.
Read more on our automotive applications:
Climate Control, Seating and Zonal
The most well-known application for thermoelectrics in the automotive industry is the individualized heating/cooling of car seats. Due to the unique advantage of thermoelectrics for this application, car seats in the front and rear cabin can be individually heated or cooled based on the occupant’s preference.
As the individual controls the temperature selection switch, airflow is directed through a thermoelectric heat pump, which adjusts the temperature. A fan circulates the temperature-controlled air through a ducting system integrated into the seat back and cushion, offering custom comfort for each occupant of the vehicle. The seat application, often considered a green-energy application, has the potential to reduce our national energy bill by enabling smaller compressors to be used for cooling the main cabin.
Cup Holder/Compartment Cooling
An emerging application in the automotive industry is the temperature-controlled cup holder. Based on a switch setting, thermoelectric devices will preserve the warmth or chill of a beverage by temperature regulation of the cup holder. Further advantages of thermoelectrics in this application include a built-in condensation management system and environmentally-friendly design to ensure prevention of frost or freezing.
HEV Battery Cooling
Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) Battery Cooling
New hybrid and electric vehicles rely on costly battery-operated systems that often require maintenance or repair when exposed to temperatures outside a narrow, stringent operating range. II-VI Marlow is developing thermoelectric modules which will stabilize the temperature of a vehicle battery to achieve maximum performance in all environments. This solution increases battery efficiency, extends battery life and increases battery capacity in the coldest temperatures.
Other non-thermoelectric solutions attempt to achieve a similar result through a compressor-based approach. Difficulty during implementation and maintenance, however, poses a major concern when operating under the 300W threshold. II-VI Marlow thermoelectric implementations provide simple, reliable and maintenance-free solutions to maximize battery performance while meeting the size, weight and input power requirements of your application.
Exhaust Waste Heat Recovery Systems
A typical automobile converts only about one-quarter of its fuel’s energy content into useful power to move the vehicle. The remaining energy is consumed by a variety of irreversible losses dominated by waste heat dissipation through the radiator and engine exhaust. This inefficient use of fuel proves costly to the consumer and damaging to the environment. II-VI Marlow has provided prototype thermoelectric waste heat recovery subsystems and continues to develop technology to convert this wasted heat energy into useful electrical power.
In this process, thermoelectric generators (TEGs) convert heat extracted from hot exhaust gases into electrical power, which can then be used to power the electrical systems in the car or recharge the battery. As thermoelectric efficiency is a function of temperature difference, the high temperatures of automobile engine exhaust allow a thermoelectric device to yield the optimum conversion efficiency.
By utilizing the wasted thermal energy that is normally exhausted to the atmosphere, II-VI Marlow waste heat recovery technology enables automakers to reduce the size of the alternator currently used to generate a vehicle’s electrical power. This makes the engine more efficient, consuming less fuel and decreasing its negative impact on the environment.
For additional information, please visit our Power Generation Center.
HVAC Distributed Cooling/Heating
HVAC Temperature Control
Current heating systems in electric vehicles typically utilize electric resistive heaters that must draw power from the same battery system used to move the vehicle. This resistive heater extracts power from the vehicle battery to provide heat at a coefficient of performance (COP) of one. Use of the heater, therefore, proves inefficient and significantly reduces vehicle driving range.
II-VI Marlow provides technology that can significantly improve the efficiency of these electric heater systems. II-VI Marlow's thermoelectric technology enables heaters to produce heat at a COP greater than 1.5 and allow significant improvements in vehicle driving range in cold environments.
When used in reverse, this thermoelectric heating system technology can also provide compact cooling for comfort in hot environments. Utilizing compact thermoelectric solutions to drive heating and cooling systems allows for Zonal Thermoelectric Air Conditioner/Heater implementation. This technology is possible in a battery- or alternator-powered vehicle. The Zonal system uses thermoelectric devices as units to heat or cool only the space occupied, targeting the dashboard, headliner, seatbacks and other areas specific to a vehicle occupant. By eliminating a large compressor-based unit to supply heat/air-conditioning for the entire vehicle, the thermoelectric method specifically directs the heat and cooling flow, thereby increasing vehicle energy efficiency.