Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM Measures
High-temperature Performance of the PowerCard™ Product
HAYWARD, Calif. – January 14, 2016 – Alphabet Energy, the global leader in thermoelectrics for waste heat to power (WHP), today announced characterization from the reputable Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM of heat flow and thermal resistance (in air) of the Alphabet Energy PowerCard™, the company’s core thermoelectric device (“module”) for power generation. The PowerCard™ has shipped to customers in a variety of industries and tested extensively, and is now entering high-volume production.
The PowerCard™ generates power from exhaust source temperatures ranging from 400-600 °C using Alphabet Energy’s proprietary, breakthrough thermoelectric materials, tetrahedrite and magnesium silicide stannide. Competing materials, such as skutterudites and half-Heuslers, rely on rare and critical elements subject to scarcity and price volatility, making them unreliable for commercial scale. Alphabet Energy’s tetrahedrite and magnesium silicide stannide combination consists of the most abundant and scalable elements available for high-temperature materials, enabling the PowerCard™ to meet the commercial requirements for a wide range of applications from remote power generation in industrial settings to waste heat recovery in the automotive industry.
“Fraunhofer IPM’s independent testing of heat flow and thermal resistance characterizes the performance of the Alphabet Energy PowerCard™ at high temperatures,” said Doug Crane, Director of Thermoelectric Engineering, Alphabet Energy. “We’re addressing our market needs for high-efficiency, low-cost with a light-element thermoelectric that operates with high efficiency and reliability in air.”
In testing conducted at Alphabet Energy’s labs, the PowerCard™ generates over 9 watts of electricity at 5% efficiency with a hot-side temperature of 400 °C and a cold-side temperature of 100 °C, outperforming competing technologies that are able to produce around six watts (skutterudites, half-Heuslers) and two watts (bismuth telluride) when tested under the same conditions. Furthermore, the PowerCard™ has displayed high reliability through large numbers of thermal cycles and time at temperature in air.
“These advancements with our PowerCard™ technology are truly unique from a materials science perspective, and align with our mission of being the Intel-inside for waste heat recovery,” said Matt Scullin, founder & CEO, Alphabet Energy.
In addition to the significant advancements with thermoelectric materials science, the PowerCard™ represents a culmination of notable technological advances in manufacturing, metallization, package design, coatings, and assembly materials and processes. As a result, Alphabet Energy has shipped PowerCard™ prototypes to a variety of customers, both stand-alone and as part of the larger PowerModule™ (which contains many PowerCards™), in energy-intensive markets including, automotive, commercial trucking, oil & gas, industrial manufacturing, defense, and consumer appliances.
Automotive Industry Traction
According to a McKinsey Quarterly report, the connected cars of the future will “become less like metal boxes and more like integrators of multiple technologies, productive data centers.” The automotive industry is in a race to meet the increased electrical power requirements of the future car (e.g., connected, semiautonomous) while also achieving fuel efficiency standards (e.g., US EPA CAFE Standards). The Alphabet Energy PowerModule™ is being used by an automotive OEM and tier-one supplier to address this challenge, and is expected to improve fuel efficiency by 5%, reducing the load on the alternator and generating the necessary electrical power to keep up with the future car’s electronics. For more on this topic, please see our infographic.
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About Alphabet Energy
Alphabet Energy makes waste heat valuable. Leveraging nanotechnology research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Michigan State University, and with over 60 patents issued and filed, the company’s proprietary PowerBlocks™ thermoelectric material turns waste heat from exhaust into electricity and serves as the technology platform for the company’s line of waste heat recovery products. Customers in energy-intensive industries from oil & gas, mining, manufacturing, transportation, to defense use Alphabet Energy’s products to generate reliable remote power while also reducing fuel consumption, operating costs and carbon emissions. Learn more at www.alphabetenergy.com or on social media:
Julie Lydon for Alphabet Energy