What happens when you replace a truck’s fan assembly with an electric fan system? You increase horsepower, reduce under-hood temperature, and become a winner in the 2017 “Create the Future” Design Contest.

The under-the-hood Engine Cooling System took top honors in the Automotive/Transportation category of this year's annual “Create the Future” challenge, a competition originally established in 2002 to recognize and reward engineering innovations. Without touching the engine or cab aerodynamics, the modular retrofit technology decreases fuel consumption and engine-compartment temperatures.

Enviro-Cool’s patented Air Management System delivers up to 10% fuel savings by replacing the OEM fan assembly with a custom hood and electric fan system. The AMS is the first module in the Heavy Duty Aftermarket Super Truck Platform. (Image Credit: Enviro-Cool, Inc.)

Original equipment engine-driven accessories can have loads of 80+ horsepower (HP), the majority of which comes from the fan assembly. Joshua Medling, Creative Director of the Sullivan, Mo-based EnviroCool, Inc., spoke with Tech Briefs about how his team’s invention cuts under-hood temperature by half, using only 2 HP. Medling believes the truck technology will ultimately decrease carbon footprint, cut ownership costs, and increase load revenues.

Tech Briefs: What is the Enviro-Cool Air Management System, and how is it a part of your “Heavy Duty Aftermarket Super Truck?”

Medling: The Heavy Duty Aftermarket Super Truck is a modular retrofit platform for new transportation technology. The first core module is the Enviro-Cool Air Management System that directly increases ram air for engine compartment cooling; the air then exits through the patented electric fan system and hood. The benefits are reduced fuel consumption up to 10%, increased available horsepower, and significantly lower engine compartment temperature.

Tech Briefs: How does the technology reduce fuel consumption?

Medling: The Air Management System improves fuel economy by replacing the OEM fan assembly with a lighter-weight and lower-horsepower electric fan system, redirecting hot dead-headed air to outside the hood. This improves the coefficient of drag, increases available horsepower, and dramatically reduces under-hood temperature and fan noise.

Tech Briefs: How is the technology implemented?

Medling: The AMS is a completely retrofit package. The OEM fan, fan clutch, shroud, and belts are removed and replaced with dual electric high-performance fans and plenum mounted on the radiator. The new system is a custom drop-in fit. A molded full-width cowl induction hood and air duct is attached, to direct the hot air outside. The package is designed to be installed in a mod shop or an OEM assembly line.

Tech Briefs: What transportation challenge is the technology addressing? Why is the technology so important?

Medling: The AMS addresses the transportation industry’s heat management challenges and general lack of under-hood aero-thermodynamic innovation. Over 50% of all engine failures are due to cooling system issues. Solving this creates an enormous savings on maintenance, cost of ownership, and fuel.

Tech Briefs: What’s next regarding the development of the Super Truck system?

Medling: With the AMS developed, we are now working on a second and third modular upgrade. The second is a Class 8 Hybrid Electric System, and the third is an advanced Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT) that will be lighter weight, require no clutching or hydraulics, and will have fewer parts.

The Enviro-Cool Air Management System team includes co-inventor George Sturmon, chief technician Edward Murray, Susan Schmidt, Joshua Medling, and Glenn Harris.

Read the full "Create the Future" entry for the Heavy Duty Aftermarket Super Truck.

What do you think? Will the Advanced Engine Cooling System reduce carbon footprint? Share your thoughts below.

Also: The Advanced Engine Cooling System is one of ten ‘Create the Future’ winners. See all the awarded products.