Automakers are improving fuel economy by exploiting a new controls approach that uses the waste heat from vehicle engines. Currently, up to 65% of the heat energy produced in internal combustion engines, whether gasoline or diesel, is wasted. Typically, the powertrain or engine dissipates the heat by convection, where it is carried to the cooling circuit or lost out of the tailpipe in exhaust gases.
The internal combustion engine has seen a remarkable evolution over the past century. Before 1970 the evolution of engine design was driven by a quest for performance and an increase in octane in the fuel supply. Since then, however, the imperative was the need to meet new emissions and fuel economy regulations.
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