Amerigon has entered into a purchase agreement with shareholders to acquire a majority voting share of W.E.T. Automotive Systems (W.E.T.), a publicly-traded German company located in Odelzhausen, Germany. The acquisition brings together the complementary business strengths of each company and will allow for improved customer responsiveness and product development.

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Renewable Energy and Thermoelectrics
Power Generation from Waste Heat

Waste heat is everywhere – we produce it when we drive cars, make glass and cast metals, incinerate trash and synthesize chemicals. Some of this heat can be captured and converted into electricity. We believe that Thermoelectric Power Generation can be economically viable in a range of applications, especially if there is a premium for compactness and reliability.

We are building practical, streamlined Thermoelectric Generators (TEGs) that are robust enough to withstand the challenges of harsh environments. Our designs are distinctly different from other developments due to the intimate integration of thermoelectric materials with heat exchangers and the rest of the system. As a result, we have best in class performance metrics such as volumetric power density and amount of TE materials per watt of electricity produced.

We are engaged in a series of application developments with a range of customers to demonstrate the power of our approach. We utilize platform design approach, where we can adapt our basic architecture to satisfy customer’s requirements.

Automotive Waste Heat Recovery

It is estimated that only about one-third of the energy produced by a typical gasoline engine is used to move a car or power its accessories, and nearly two-thirds is lost through waste heat. A thermoelectric device can capture some of that waste heat and convert it to electricity.

American Automotive TEGWe began developing high efficiency thermoelectric waste energy systems for passenger vehicle applications in November 2004, under a contract awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Freedom Car Office. This effort resulted in delivering working prototypes to BMW and Ford that were successful in producing a significant amount of electricity.

We were recently awarded an additional $8 million grant from the DOE to continue to lead the development our work in this area, along with our partners Ford, BMW of North America, and Faurecia Emissions Controls Technologies. The project, to be completed in 2015, will also specify how the new energy recovery system can be successfully commercialized “on the scale needed to positively impact the reduction of greenhouse gasses” according to the DOE grant.