Winner of a hybrid automobile or $20,000
Designed by:David A. Torrey, Ph.D., P.E.
Advanced Energy Conversion LLC
There is tremendous interest today in reducing the parasitic losses in engineered vehicle systems in order to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. This is particularly true in mobile systems, where efficiency improvements are directly translated into reduced size, reduced weight, increased range, and simplified logistics. Advanced Energy Conversion (AEC) has developed a highly integrated fluid pump that can be an important element in advancing the state of the art in fluid handling for high-performance applications.
Initially, the technology has been focused on the transportation sector including the automotive, truck, rail, and marine markets, as well as fuel cells. Other commercial and industrial markets that also rely on fluid handling for improved performance are candidates for use of this technology. AEC developed this pump design to reduce parasitic losses from direct- or beltdriven coolant pumps in heavy-duty trucks and other vehicles. In these applications, a controllable-speed electric coolant pump is the enabling technology, allowing for substantial reduction of radiator size, elimination of bypass loops, and elimination of the thermostat, since the pump can be controlled to maximize coolant flows in an effective design.
In conventional electrically driven pumps, the pump and motor are each contained within their own housing and connected through a shaft. The AEC integrated pump provides for the dual use of parts by integrating the rotor of the electric motor with the impeller of the pump in a common housing. Average energy requirements may be significantly reduced by employing controlled flow as allowed by variable speed pump operation independent of engine speed.
The integrated, mixed-flow pump design provides a powerdense electric machine that is efficient and capable of controlled operation over a wide speed range. It offers substantially improved thermal performance of the electric motor due to direct liquid cooling of the windings, and reduced physical size by combining the motor and pump in a single housing. It also reduces part count by virtue of component integration, and provides improved reliability. It eliminates rotating seals and offers low manufacturing cost through improved material utilization.
Use of the pump in cooling systems for transportation systems enables additional benefits such as reduced radiator size through better thermal performance from the controlled flow pump, and smaller bearings with reduced wear by eliminating side loads for the electrically driven pump relative to belt-driven pumps. Decoupling the cooling system from engine speed will save substantial energy while simplifying the system and reducing cost.
Manufacturing the integrated motor/pump would be based on commonly used methods of pump manufacturing. In particular, the manufacture of circulating pumps for heating systems embodies all of the processes that would be necessary for manufacturing the integrated motor/pump.