Renault Trucks says it is working on incorporating a system of recovering the energy contained in exhaust gases, known as the Rankine cycle, into long haul vehicles. This is designed to produce electricity to supply electrical components and auxiliary equipment on the vehicle, so as to cut fuel consumption by reducing the load on the alternator.
The system based on the Rankine cycle makes it possible to convert the thermal energy into electrical energy. The enthalpy of the vehicle's exhaust gases is recovered and then converted into electricity by a generator incorporated into the turbine. "Almost 30% of a vehicle's full tank of fuel is dissipated in the form of heat in the exhaust gases. This is a total waste" explains Dimitri Lortet, engine development project manager. "The Rankine system enables us to recover some of the energy contained in these exhaust gases and convert it into electricity".
The system promises to generate several kilowatts of electricity. Ultimately, the Rankine system is capable of reducing long distance vehicle fuel consumption by between 5% and 10%.