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Wedacs true environment (wetren)

Wetren aims to research, develop and validate the waste energy driven air conditioning system (wedacs)-technology. This add-on technology for gasoline engines reduces co2 emissions and fuel consumption up to 15% by eliminating the conventional alternator and offering air conditioning support.

WETREN is the acronym for Waste Energy driven air conditioning system TRue Environment. This project aims to research, develop and validate the Waste Energy Driven Air Conditioning System (WEDACS)-technology (patent pending) in a real-life (i.e. vehicle) environment. This add-on technology comprises three main components: 1) turbine, 2) alternator and 3) heat-exchanger), aimed at recovering otherwise wasted throttling (pumping) losses in gasoline engines. It is applicable to both new and existing vehicles, and has the potential to improve fuel economy up to 15% without comprising drivability or overall vehicle cost and weight. The benefit in fuel economy is achieved by producing green electricity and cooling capacity, thereby reducing the dependency on the fuel consuming conventional engine-driven alternator and air-conditioning (A/C) compressor. BACKGROUND OF THE PROJECT: To improve fuel economy, engines are currently being downsized and fitted with various gas exchange techniques (turbocharging, variable valve technology, etc.). In addition, conventional mechanical auxiliaries (power steering pump, water pump, breaking systems, etc.) are being replaced by electrical and software controlled versions. This electrification trend not only partly compensates for the loss of drivability and comfort as a result of downsizing by offering better flexibility, but also makes it relatively easy to tap (e.g. regenerative braking) into or avoid (e.g. start/stop mechanisms) otherwise wasted energies. Having this future system architecture in mind, consortium partners VOLVO CAR COMPANY (VCC), PSICONTROL MECHATRONICS (PSI) and the EINDHOVEN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY (TU/e) saw a match between their future products and R&D activities, and the advantages of WEDACS, which prompted this subsidy application. PROBLEM DEFINITION: In order to exploit the full potential of WEDACS, further research effort and innovation steps are required. In particular, a new optimised design is necessary in which the thermo-dynamical behaviour of both turbine and heat-exchanger is taken into account, such that the mechanical power is most efficiently converted into useful electricity. Finally, a robust (learning) control strategy must be developed to ensure optimal overall system performance under all circumstances. PROJECT RESULTS: 1) Generic WEDACS hardware design based on the aforementioned three main components, which is suitable for installation in the majority of existing and new gasoline engines. (Recent in-house measurements demonstrated that a "one-size-fits-all" approach is feasible); 2) Dedicated (learning) control strategy and governing software; 3) Demonstration of a fully-functional and -integrated WEDACS module in a Volvo test-vehicle. PROJECT APPROACH: In order to develop a generic WEDACS module, system requirements will have to be investigated and defined for a wide range of engine sizes. Dedicated hardware (e.g. turbine (housing), bearings, heat-exchanger and alternator) will have to be designed and custom-made based on computer models. Moreover, the interaction between the components and optimisation of overall (dynamic) system behaviour will have to be researched. Parallel, a dedicated (learning) control algorithm will be developed, again based on computer models, to safeguard optimal performance and enable the desired generic character of the technology. PARTICIPANTS: 1) PROGRESSION-INDUSTRY (PI); spin-off of the Technical University of Eindhoven (TU/e). Main applicant PI will be responsible for the project management, overall system architecture and business development. 2) VOLVO CAR CORPORATION (VCC), headquartered in Gothenburg, SWEDEN, will be responsible for the design specifications, technical support (pertaining to specific Volvo know-how) and a test vehicle. 3) INVERTO, headquartered in Evergem, Belgium, will be responsible for R&D activities concerning the dedicated high speed alternator and related power electronics. 4) The TU/e will be responsible for the design of the turbine and heat-exchanger (1 PhD project / Combustion Technology, Prof. de Goey) and (learning) control strategy (1 PhD project / Control Systems Technology, Prof. Steinbuch). 5) Various non-participating partners: VCC NETHERLANDS (technical support and aftermarket strategy), MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES (MHI) (NL, turbine manufacturer), and KIST (KR, potential bearing R&D partner). Financial perspectives: Within 9 years from now, the annual production of WEDACS is expected to exceed 250,000 units constituting a market share of 0.7%, generating a turnover of 62.5 Million Euros for the commercialising consortium.
Acronym: 
WETREN
Project ID: 
5 765
Start date: 
01-04-2010
Project Duration: 
72months
Project costs: 
2 150 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Heat exchangers
Market Area: 
Motor Vehicles, Transportation Equipment and Parts

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