The Thermoelectric project is an effort to recover waste heat from large marine Diesel engines using Thermoelectric technology. Thermoelectric materials can generate a current when sandwiched between two heat sync’s. The energy recovery is a function of temperature differential across the device. Initial research was done using Maine Maritime’s vessel Friendship during an initial feasibility study. The results of the study proved the worth of continued research. This led a group of students with funding from the American Bureau of Shipping to renovate a covered lifeboat.
Caterpillar Diesel donated an engine to the project which serves as the vessel’s propulsion as well as the hot heat sync. A thermoelectric generator was outfitted within the vessel. Data was then taken to examine the amount of electrical energy recovered, which translated into fuel savings for the operation of the vessel. Results can be scaled for larger vessels readily. This project served for the Capstone requirements of four graduating seniors in the spring of 2010.
The “Green Machine” used for Thermoelectric analysis. The vessel also will function as a test bed for Marine Biofuel.
A thermoelectric device cross section