An important subsystem in surface transportation vehicles (rail bound, automotive and heavy duty) is the cooling unit. Present European standards for interoperability of rail bound traffic require low noise levels while manufactures need to meet the vehicle performance and energy efficiency requested by the operators.
The stringent EU6 emission limits, will increase dramatically the demand for cooling power in road vehicles without accepting a noise penalty. Manufactures need innovative methods for reducing development costs and testing, and thus further improving their competitiveness in the global market. The objectives are innovative contributions towards novel cooling units with reduced noise radiation and decreased CO2 emissions.
The project aims at efficient and quiet cooling systems for surface transport applications (rail bound, automotive and heavy duty): new compact lay outs, innovative heat management strategies and low energy/noise components. Intermediate objectives concern:
- implementation of an integrated simulation platform for noise mechanisms, scattering and propagation;
- development of design procedures for thermally and acoustically optimal cooling units;
- research on innovative fan designs and new passive noise control measures and their integration into novel cooling units.
Mass produced automotive units and large locomotive systems produced at small numbers are considered simultaneously: strong synergies and cross-fertilization are expected.
The project is structured in work packages (WP's). These deal with: (i) project co-ordination, (ii) focus on the acoustical models and their integration, (iii) take into account realistic train and automotive environments, (iv) deals with full scale vehicle tests and (v) concludes the project with an assessment, an exploitation plan and a dissemination.
Being an upstream-research oriented project, the majority of the work will be lead by universities and research institutes.
Helping transport keep their cool
Any future technology used in surface transport will need to be cooled in the quietest and most efficient way possible. Therefore, an EU-funded initiative has investigated the thermal efficiency and acoustic performance of cooling systems in road vehicles and trains.
Strict EU environmental regulations have raised the demand for cooling units in vehicles that do not produce excessive noise. The 'Efficient cooling systems for quieter surface transport' (ECOQUEST) project developed a quieter cooling unit with lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for both automobiles and trains.
Project partners developed new compact layouts, innovative heat management strategies and innovative fan designs, and new passive noise control measures. These were integrated into the new cooling systems. Mass produced units for cars and larger units produced in smaller numbers for trains were considered at the same time.
Researchers investigated all aspects of engine cooling. For the automotive application, a typical car platform was chosen and heat dissipation studied by modelling various module configurations. These were then analysed using system tools such as multiphysics simulation software.
The cooling system for trains involved a detailed study of the coolant efficiency ratio, noise emission and energy consumption. In addition, researchers investigated the best use of space, the optimal weight of the unit and integration into a powertrain. By coupling the vehicle model with the cooling system, the entire system could be successfully studied.
New design strategies were validated by full-scale tests. Two full-scale modules, one for cars or lorries and another for trains, were implemented in vehicles and examined under realistic test conditions. The technologies were developed with regard to improving thermal efficiency while minimising energy consumption, CO2 emissions, noise and costs.
A high-performance numerical acoustics simulation method was adapted and validated through a separate series of small-scale model tests at an acoustic laboratory for noise assessment. The results will provide an important tool for future component development and certification of the vehicle.
Commercialisation of ECOQUEST cooling systems will reduce noise at source while increasing energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. This will enable Europe's automobile and locomotive manufacturers to develop more eco-friendly surface transport for people and goods, and enhance the EU's global competitiveness.