Buying a massive Land Rover hasn't historically been the best way to reduce your cost of living -- until now, perhaps.

Engineers at Atmos Heating Systems have teamed up with Land Rover to create a prototype Freelander that can power the central heating and hot water supplies in your house using heat extracted from the car's exhaust.

The system, known as Thermal Energy Storage and Saving Automobile, or TESSA, captures exhaust energy in a heat store -- a unit that sits between the catalytic convertor and the silencer box. Once the car is parked, stored heat is extracted via an onboard heat-transfer block, through a pair of hose pipes, and into a second heat store located inside the home. That heat store is then used to warm up your water and radiators.

The amount of heat that can be repurposed is substantial -- just one hour of driving produces enough energy for one day's hot water. According to Atmost Heating Systems, a typical vehicle uses around 171MJ of energy from fuel per day, with 32 per cent of that energy (52MJ) lost as heat via the exhaust. At least half that energy is collected using the TESSA system, which is enough for most people's hot water requirements.

TESSA technology could, ultimately, make cars powered by internal combustion engines greener than their battery electric counterparts. The system doesn't reduce CO2 emissions from the vehicle itself, but its use can result in lower fuel consumption in the home, which provides an overall net benefit to the environment.

At this stage, the technology is still in development, but Atmos says it's confident TESSA will soon be commercialised. Flick through our gallery above to get a closer look at a diagram of the system or, to see it in action for yourself, head over to the European Bioenergy Exhibition & Conference, which takes place on 5 and 6 October at Stoneleigh Park near Coventry.

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