Delphi has launched a new range of liquid cooled charge air coolers (LCCAC) to improve engine performance with production due next year.

In order to combine reduced tailpipe emissions and better fuel economy, vehicle manufacturers are turning to downsized engines boosted by turbo or supercharging.

However, boosting compresses the air entering the engine, which significantly increases the air temperature greatly reducing combustion efficiency and eroding the performance improvement.

Delphi said it had addressed this problem by introducing a charge air cooler into the intake system;

“Our new generation of charge air coolers will help vehicle manufacturers meet future targets for tailpipe emissions and improved fuel economy,” said Delphi Thermal Systems engineering director Steve Kiefer.

Unlike an air-to-air charge cooler, a LCCAC requires no large diameter elastomeric tubing to route the charge air to and from the cooler.

Engine response to sudden throttle demand is improved because of the smaller volume of intake air between the boosting device and the engine in a liquid cooled system.

Additionally, the intake air stays cooler during acceleration because the  liquid cooled charge cooler heats up more slowly. This higher thermal capacity also helps to limit peak NOx emissions during transient driving conditions by maintaining cooler inlet air temperatures.

Further emissions reduction benefit is derived under cold start conditions, as coolant flow to the LCCAC can be limited to increase engine warm-up rate.

“We expect to have the first Delphi liquid cooled charge air coolers in production during 2011,” Kiefer said.