By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
MACS member Behr-Hella and their service subsidiary, Behr-Hella Service NAFTA, held a press day open house at their Troy, Michigan Technical Center in mid-October. We’ll have a complete story in the Jan-Feb issue of ACtion, but the company showed off a lot of new or improved technology that’s worthy of your attention. Some of it is “on the street” now while other items are still under development and will emerge in a year or two. Here are some highlights.
Today, most turbo-or supercharged engines pass the compressed air through a cooler before it enters the engine. That cooler is often a big, space-hogging unit crammed into the engine bay anywhere it can get airflow. But the supercharged Corvette had no room under the hood, so Behr developed an intercooler that mounts on the engine and uses liquid coolant instead of air to cool the intake charge. It almost looks too small for the job, but the performance of the ZR-1 proves otherwise.
You know the Chevrolet Volt uses a variety of cooling systems and components; did you know that the battery cooling circuit uses the A/C system? A small refrigerant loop is used to cool liquid coolant which then circulates through the battery packs. The chiller (or heat exchanger ) used in the system was on display.
As new fuel efficiency regulations come into effect, Behr-Hella is working with a number of heavy-duty and truck OEMs to squeeze every last mile out of a gallon of fuel and keep emissions within limits. One system under development is a method of recovering some waste heat from the exhaust stream and using it productively elsewhere, including cooling the EGR system. The clever solutions are based on the Rankine cycle and preliminary testing showed as much as a 6% gain in fuel efficiency.
Another product – and you’ll be seeing more of these – is the storage evaporator for climate control systems. As stop-start systems appear across many model lines, keeping the A/C running with the compressor (and engine) off becomes a requirement. These evaporators use phase-change storage to provide refrigerant release for nearly a minute to provide continued cabin cooling while the car sits, perhaps at a traffic light, with the engine off.
There’s a lot of interesting and efficient new technology being developed for all kinds of vehicles and Behr-Hella is a main player in the field.
The Mobile Air Conditioning Society’s blog has been honored as the best business to business blog in the Automotive Aftermarket by the Automotive Communications Awards and the Car Care Council Women’s Board!
When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
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The 32nd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Convention and Trade Show will take place January 18-20, 2012 at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.