Honda is currently involved in a research using a Rankine cycle co-generation unit, in which the system works by capturing the exhaust heat from the engine and converting it to electricity.

Hybrid engines work by combining an energy storage unit and a fueled power source, normally a battery and an internal combustion engine. The battery is meant to recapture and store any source of energy produced and wasted throughout various driving stages; for instance the energy wasted during braking. Interestingly, Honda has found a new alternative source of energy in respect of this.

The Japanese automaker is currently involved in a research using a Rankine cycle co-generation unit, in which the system works by capturing the exhaust heat from the engine and converting it to electricity. The physics behind this concept is very simple. High-pressured water is pumped into the evaporator and converted into steam by using the heat from the engine. This steam is then channelled into a volumetric expander to rotate a generator and produce electric current, which is stored in the battery pack.

Honda managed to successfully defeat the uncertainties on this system, by fitting the said unit into a standard Honda Stream and testing it. The test unit generated three times more electricity than other common systems found in hybrid cars these days.

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Honda Tests Advanced Hybrid System