German car giant BMW has announced plans to attach radioactive heat-collectors to the tailpipes of future models, in a move predicted to slash fuel use and reduce carbon emissions by around 5 per cent.
The massive fuel saving is bigger than the three per cent achieved by the two current key Efficient Dynamics technologies – stop-start and brake energy regeneration.
The revolutionary technology, originally designed to power space satellites, captures waste heat transferred down the tailpipe and converts it to electricity via a radioactive ‘thermolelectric generator.’
According to Klaus Draeger, BMW’s Head of Development, “We will be ready for production in about five years.”
Tests show that up to a third of the energy wasted by an internal combustion engine flows down the tailpipe. Harnessing even part of this energy is predicted to result in a dramatic saving in overall vehicle efficiency.
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