heat2power in the market of race cars, trucks and boats

Though racing was not the main objective for the heat2power applications it was found that the markets of race cars, race trucks and power boats are very interested in the application of waste heat regeneration. There are two main reasons for this.

Motorsport needs to adapt to social changes

On one hand we can observe a shift in society to better energy efficiency and reduction of CO2 emissions. This shift changes the view on motorsports. It becomes less and less socially acceptable to burn fuel while running around a track just for the fun of it. The high levels of management in motorsport got aware of this and saw that the future of motorsport is at stake. The risk was identified that perhaps someday governments would not grant authorisations for racing anymore. The Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) has promoted energy efficiency in racing since 2003 (see pdf1 and pdf2). Chris Aylett, CEO of the MIA has reiterated this in 2007 on the World Racing Conference in Oxford, on the Professional Motorsport World exhibition and in 2008 on the Birmingham Autosport show.

racing categories for waste heat regeneration
Racing categories where WHR will appear in the coming years

Hence we can now observe a strong move towards energy efficient racing. The FIA has also taken up this mission. Targets have been set to progressively introduce energy efficiency technologies in top levels of motorsport, where budgets can be made available to finance innovative engineering projects. In fact, the introduction of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) as of 2009 are the start of this. Waste Heat Regeneration has clearly been identified as one of the technologies to be introduced.

In any case, since the subject of WHR was introduced it started being more present in all levels of racing. The knowledge of heat2power can be of enormous help to racing teams in the identification of the right technology to use on a racing vehicle. With our understanding of the multitude of technologies we believe that our own development based on characteristics for mass production and ease of operation will be among the strongest technologies in racing as well. We therefore invite race teams to investigate with us the potential of WHR in their vehicles.

Waste heat regeneration increases the power of engines

The second reason why WHR is interesting for racing is that it can considerably increase the amount of power delivered by the engine while respecting the regulations. On gasoline race engines that run between 8000 and 11000 RPM we have seen power levels in the exhaust about 1.8 times as high as the power on the crankshaft. That means that there is a huge amount of power being lost. By simply converting a part of that into torque, the engine power is increased. Imagine what a 25% of regeneration efficiency can do. The heat2power system was designed to have high regeneration efficiency at high RPM and could thus achieve about 1.2 kW per kg added to the vehicle. The effect on laptimes is classified as "considerable", especially on tracks like Le Mans with long straights and few corners. The WHR would function at full power almost all the time.

The race series heat2power started to work for is the Le Mans Series but we expect Formula One to pick up very soon as well, even though the F1 engineering teams for the moment focus on WHR from the engine cooling system.

Formula 1

On July 3rd, 2008 the FIA has send a letter to the Formula 1 teams in which it asks to make proposals for new regulations. These should oblige the teams to reduce fuel consumption by 20% in 2011 and by 50% in 2015, compared to today's standard. The new regulations should also reduce cost. The FIA will increase the authorized power and energy levels of KERS, probably allow variable aerodynamics, but also stimulate technologies that make the combustion engines more efficient. WHR from the exhaust and from the cooling system have already clearly been mentioned as important options.

You can here download the letter to the teams and the layout for new rules:

letter from the FIA to the F1 racing teams
Letter to the teams
New rules for 2011
New Rules for 2011

The rules should encourage manufacturer teams to research technologies which are road-relevant rather than Formula One-specific. Heat2power fits well in this perspective as the technology proposed to Formula 1 is fully transposable to road cars.

WHR from the exhaust has a high level of interest from the teams because its high potential of energy regeneration but the WHR from the cooling system that heat2power also proposes is as well seriously being considered. heat2power is convinced that exhaust WHR has inherently low technical risks. Cooling system WHR however is far more delicate since it influences temperature and durability of the combustion engine itself. Cooling system WHR would better apply on powergeneration units where temperatures are more easy to control. The Formula 1 regulations are still under discussion and nothing has been finalized yet but the great lines are set for good.

Other race classes

Other race classes one would not think of immediately can have substantial benefits from a WHR system. In the Dakar Rally, fuel economy on day long sections can be crucial for maintaining driving range without having to loose too much speed in the morning. In fact, the vehicles suffer from the heavy weight that the fuel represents in the early parts of the sections. Applying a WHR system would bring better balance between the configurations of the vehicles in the morning and in the afternoon.

Offshore Pro Series with big potential for Waste heat regeneration
Offshore Pro Series particularly fascinating application for waste heat regeneration

Offshore pro series is another category where the range and fuel consumption are under constraints. Again, a WHR system would bring better balance between raw power, speed and action range.

Below is a recent article from the American Le Mans organisation that shows its desire to make the change for a better world. (Courtesy www.americanlemans.org)


Scott Atherton, CEO of ALMS
Scott Atherton: "We are working with
the car companies on new technology
that matters."

It seems only a short time ago that a $60 barrel of oil caused great concern among industry business leaders, politicians and consumers. There are now predictions that $200 a barrel may be likely. Gasoline prices have escalated to all-time highs while automobile sales are decreasing at rates not seen in decades. Combined with higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions, climate change becomes increasingly apparent.

While The American Le Mans Series will not portend to have a solution for the escalating price of crude oil, it will profess to have a solution for helping the auto industry - and ultimately consumers.

To further emphasize its commitment to help auto manufacturers find alternative fuel solutions and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the American Le Mans Series in concert with the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and SAE International announced at the North American International Auto Show earlier this year that it would implement the first ever Green Challenge™ at its signature event - Petit Le Mans, October 4 at Road Atlanta. Officials from those entities will be on hand to present trophies to the winners for that race-within-a-race. In 2009, the Green Challenge™ will include all Series events and culminate in a Green Challenge™ Championship Award made by these three organizations.

In recent months, members of the aforementioned entities have comprised the Green Racing Work Group commissioned with the task of creating the rules, regulations and protocols of that competition in which all race cars would participate in a competition measuring three critical criteria:

"This has been an interesting and challenging process," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. "With four different classes of cars, 14 auto and chassis manufacturers, and three different alternative fuels to take into consideration, a formula of how to create a fair competition with real time analysis and a format that is easy to understand and communicate has been very difficult. It has taken hundreds and hundreds of hours and involved some of the finest technical minds in the automotive and energy industries."

The American Le Mans Series and internationally recognized Argonne National Laboratory have developed a Green Challenge™ ranking system to be used for all cars competing in the Series. Cars will be ranked by the:

GM will participate with Corvettes running on cellulosic E85
GM has embraced the Series' green focus with its two factory Corvette C6.Rs competing in 2008 on cellulosic E85."

In brief, race cars that go the farthest, the fastest with the smallest environmental footprint for the energy used will get the lowest scores. The Green Challenge™ point score differs from racing score totals in that the lowest number wins. Two awards will be given - one to the lowest score among the prototype classes (LMP1 and LMP2) and one to the lowest score among the GT classes (GT1 and GT2). Thus, the Prototype and the Grand Touring (GT) race car that uses the least energy, the least petroleum and emits the fewest GHGs on a distance and speed equalized basis will be the winners.

During the 2009 season, those teams will earn the same number of points toward the season-long Green Challenge™ Championship as those earned by the race winners each race in the overall American Le Mans Series Championship. All teams will participate and qualify for the Green Challenge™ and receive points for their Green Challenge™ scores for each race based on the Series' race point structure (i.e. maximum points for less than four hours is 20; for four to eight hours, 25; and for more than eight hours, 30). The twist, however, for winning the Green Challenge™ Championship is that each American Le Mans Series team starts off the season with the maximum number of points available for all the scheduled races (i.e. - 250 maximum in 2008). When teams win Green Challenge™ Championship points, they are deducted from this total. As a result, the points decline for successful teams over the course of the season with the lowest total at season's end, winning a Green Challenge™ championship for one prototype and one GT team.

The aforementioned ranking factors (energy used, GHGs emitted, petroleum displaced) will be compiled into a single weighted number representing the car's environmental performance. Race cars that use less energy and petroleum and produce fewer GHGs will score low. All measurements and calculations will be done on a well-to-wheel (life cycle analysis) basis, the most comprehensive and realistic approach to establishing the environmental impact of racing.

The GREET model developed by Argonne calculates all the energy consumed and the GHGs created from the time the oil is pumped out of the ground, the corn is seeded in the field or the wood waste is harvested, to its use as fuel in the car. [GREET stands for Greenhouse gasses, Regulated Emissions and Energy use in Transportation. It evaluates energy and emission impacts of advanced vehicle technologies and new transportation fuels, the fuel cycle from well to wheels and the vehicle cycle through material recovery and vehicle disposal.

Audi R10 winner of Le Mans 2008
Audi revolutionized motorsport by building and winning races with its Audi R10 TDI powered by clean, sulfur-free diesel.

The difficulty of creating such a formula to rank environmental impact arises from the realities of racing that have to be factored to make valid energy comparisons. Faster cars and heavier cars use more energy and produce more greenhouse gasses than comparable slower or lighter cars. Cars that go farther during a race also require more energy.

To develop the formula, Argonne and the American Le Mans Series created "normalizing factors" for each variable so that they could accurately and fairly compare the environmental performance of each car in the race. The normalizing factors took into consideration such things as average speed, distance covered and car weight. These calculations were compared using sophisticated computer modeling with previous races to check their validity. In some cases, the cars that win the race will also get the best environmental performance score, but that will not always be the case.

"Motorsports has always enjoyed the distinction of being at the forefront of advanced automotive engineering," said Andy Karsner, U.S. Department of Energy's Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, "and it has been a primary catalyst for moving new technologies to the showroom floor. The leadership role the American Le Mans Series has taken by embracing open and diverse alternative fuel technology platforms has not only set the bar for automotive racing, but it has helped redefine the future of the transportation sector."

The American Le Mans Series, where automobile manufacturers race to develop technologies for future consumer cars, is the only racing series in the world where all its cars race on not one, not two, but three alternative "street legal" fuels: clean sulfur-free diesel, E10 and cellulosic E85 ... with rumors of a next-generation hybrid soon to come. "Street legal" refers to fuels that are virtually the same as the consumer buys at the fuel station. The Series has 11 auto manufacturers/marques involved, more than any other major racing series in the world.

"We have always claimed to be the most relevant racing series on the planet," said Atherton. "Now, we hope to play a role in saving that planet by working with manufacturers on innovative alternative fuel solutions and new technologies. We believe this could be truly paradigm shifting by effectively putting the auto back into auto racing and taking the sport from a form that for some has been primarily entertainment-focused to one that is also relevant and issue-focused. We are working with the car companies on new technology that matters."

If you are interested in reading motorsport magazines here are a few online :

PRI - Performance Racing Industry - October 2009

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