22 May 2002
Component in the automotive a/c industry have been optimized to minimize size and weight, and for large production volume, but not for energy efficiency. Now facing the potential that regulatory changes that include a/c in auto fuel economy standards, and possible limitations on leakage of greenhouse gases, new forces are driving technological innovation, both at the system and component level. This paper examines the technology changes currently underway, which are being closely watched by the stationary a/c industry as production volumes increase and compactness becomes more important. Special attention is focused on the implications of a shift from a/c-only systems to reversible heat pumps in the automobile sector, as increases in vehicle fuel efficiency limit the amount of waste heat available in the engine coolant.