The government has made more significant steps towards boosting car fuel efficiency recently, especially with the new CAFE standards, and now the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is trying to facilitate progress by zeroing in on one particular part of the car - the air conditioner.
According to NREL, car air conditioners account for seven billion gallons of gasoline, about six percent of the nation's total yearly fuel consumption. Beyond just the fuel use, refrigerant leaks are responsible for 50 million metric tons of CO2 emissions a year. With that in mind, the laboratory has set a goal of improving air conditioner efficiency by 33 percent.
A few different ideas are already being tested by researchers. One is a complete redesign of the car air conditioner using thermoelectric modules instead of typical refrigerants. Another is the use of solar-reflective glass and paint on the car exterior that reduces interior air temperature by as much as 34 percent, keeping the air conditioner from having to work as hard.
This summer, the laboratory will work with Ford, who has been awarded $4.2 million from the DOE to improve air conditioning efficiency, to develop a thermoelectric system.
via Green Inc.
written by autostry, June 25, 2009
written by Fred, June 30, 2009
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