Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carbon Dioxide Holds Promise As Future Refrigerant In Automobiles

Date:
September 8, 1998
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Carbon dioxide, the gas that puts the "fizz" in soda pop, could become the next refrigerant for automotive air-conditioning systems, University of Illinois researchers say.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Carbon dioxide, the gas that puts the "fizz" in soda pop, could become the next refrigerant for automotive air-conditioning systems, University of Illinois researchers say.

Related Articles


Recent tests conducted at the U. of I.'s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Center compared the thermal performance of a prototype carbon-dioxide system with one commonly used in automobiles.

"The carbon-dioxide system outperformed the conventional system under most operating conditions," said Predrag Hrnjak, a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering and a researcher at the center. "There is clearly a potential in this technology, which makes it reasonable to look more closely at solving the technical challenges encountered."

Current systems use a synthetic hydrofluorocarbon known as R134a. Developed as an ozone-safe replacement for the chlorofluorocarbon R12, this refrigerant may prove inadequate for future vehicles.

"To reduce global warming and obtain better fuel economy, we must develop more energy-efficient air-conditioning systems," said Clark Bullard, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of the center. "Automakers have encountered a fork in the road. One path would improve the existing R134a system; the other path would design a system around carbon dioxide or some other refrigerant."

Eventually, however, energy-efficient automobile engines may not generate enough waste heat to warm passenger compartments during cold weather. A heat pump, which operates like an air conditioner in reverse, may be required.

"Although R134a is a very good refrigerant, it works poorly as a heating fluid," Bullard said. "Carbon dioxide is much better suited for heat-pump applications. So, if the path of improving the R134a system ultimately dead ends, it makes sense to consider alternative technologies now."

To compare the two systems, the researchers constructed identical environmental test chambers. A variable-speed wind tunnel simulated the range of operating conditions encountered in normal applications. As a basis for comparison, the two heat exchangers had nearly equal volumes and the same pressure drop on the air side. The two compressors were also of similar sizes.

"Our experimental results will be used to validate models for designing next-generation systems that can then be compared experimentally," Hrnjak said. "We are just beginning to learn how to exploit the inherent advantages of carbon dioxide as a refrigerant."

By extracting a lot of basic information from their experiments, the researchers hope to reduce some of the technical uncertainties surrounding the ultimate limits on carbon-dioxide performance.

"Once the industry has a sense of what those realistic goals could be, then automakers can decide which path to take," Bullard said. "In a sense, we are trying to turn these black boxes into crystal balls."

The researchers presented their findings at the International Refrigeration and Compressor Conference, held July 14-17 in Lafayette, Ind.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Carbon Dioxide Holds Promise As Future Refrigerant In Automobiles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980908073933.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. (1998, September 8). Carbon Dioxide Holds Promise As Future Refrigerant In Automobiles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980908073933.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Carbon Dioxide Holds Promise As Future Refrigerant In Automobiles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980908073933.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) An hour before an apparent gas explosion sent flames soaring and debris flying at a Manhattan apartment building, injuring 19 people, utility company inspectors decided the work being done there was faulty. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) Facebook on Thursday revealed more details about its Internet-connected drone project. The drone is bigger than a 737, but lighter than a car. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) The companion robot "Kirobo" returns to earth from the International Space Station and sets two Guinness World Records. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Witnesses recount the sites and sounds of a massive explosion and subsequent building collapse in the heart of Manhattan&apos;s trendy East Village on Thursday. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins