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Proceedings Paper

Lightweight thermal energy recovery system based on shape memory alloys: a DOE ARPA-E initiative
Author(s): Alan L. Browne; Andrew C. Keefe; Paul W. Alexander; Nilesh Mankame; Patrick Usoro; Nancy L. Johnson; Jan Aase; Peter Sarosi; Geoffrey P. McKnight; Guillermo Herrera; Christopher Churchill; John Shaw; Jeff Brown
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Paper Abstract

Over 60% of energy that is generated is lost as waste heat with close to 90% of this waste heat being classified as low grade being at temperatures less than 200°C. Many technologies such as thermoelectrics have been proposed as means for harvesting this lost thermal energy. Among them, that of SMA (shape memory alloy) heat engines appears to be a strong candidate for converting this low grade thermal output to useful mechanical work. Unfortunately, though proposed initially in the late 60's and the subject of significant development work in the 70's, significant technical roadblocks have existed preventing this technology from moving from a scientific curiosity to a practical reality. This paper/presentation provides an overview of the work performed on SMA heat engines under the US DOE (Department of Energy) ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy) initiative. It begins with a review of the previous art, covers the identified technical roadblocks to past advancement, presents the solution path taken to remove these roadblocks, and describes significant breakthroughs during the project. The presentation concludes with details of the functioning prototypes developed, which, being able to operate in air as well as fluids, dramatically expand the operational envelop and make significant strides towards the ultimate goal of commercial viability.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 March 2012
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8343, Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2012, 834306 (29 March 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.913275
Show Author Affiliations
Alan L. Browne, General Motors Corp. (United States)
Andrew C. Keefe, HRL Labs., LLC (United States)
Paul W. Alexander, General Motors Corp. (United States)
Nilesh Mankame, General Motors Corp. (United States)
Patrick Usoro, General Motors Corp. (United States)
Nancy L. Johnson, General Motors Corp. (United States)
Jan Aase, General Motors Corp. (United States)
Peter Sarosi, General Motors Corp. (United States)
Geoffrey P. McKnight, HRL Labs., LLC (United States)
Guillermo Herrera, HRL Labs., LLC (United States)
Christopher Churchill, HRL Labs., LLC (United States)
John Shaw, Univ. of Michigan (United States)
Jeff Brown, Dynalloy, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8343:
Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2012
Kevin Farinholt; Steven F. Griffin, Editor(s)

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