Delphi has developed new CO2 air conditioning technology as part of continuing research into alternative refrigerants to help reduce their environmental impact and help meet pending European legislation. This technology will be highlighted at the 61st International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany on September 13.


Delphi is developing a variety of alternative refrigerant air conditioning systems to offer the best option for the environment and their customers. To determine the most viable future alternative, performance, safety and cost must be considered in addition to environmental impact, the company notes.


“We have linked our global technical and business teams to coordinate our developments in response to this environmental challenge. As part of this strategy, our team in Europe has taken the lead in the development of CO2 systems,” said Dr. Stefan Glober, director of engineering, Europe & South America, Delphi Thermal & Interior.


In Europe, CO2 technology is viewed as the alternative of choice of many car manufacturers. The Delphi CO2 air conditioning system has been demonstrated on several test vehicles.


“Initial customer feedback on our CO2 system has been positive and we are in active discussions on production program applications of the technology,” said Steven Kiefer, managing director, Europe & South America, Delphi Thermal & Interior.


Delphi has also developed a concept of a reversible air conditioning system using air to coolant heat pump technology. This was first shown at the 2005 Saalfelden Winter Meetings in Austria. Delphi says this concept allows for better integration into the vehicle and a higher performance to cost ratio over other functional concepts.


When used with CO2, it eliminates the risk of high-pressure refrigerant entering the passenger cabin, therefore eliminating in-cabin refrigerant leakage concerns and associated refrigerant noise in the heat pump mode, Delphi claims.


In a comparative study by a major car manufacturer, Delphi’s latest generation of CO2 compressor was deemed very competitive in terms of performance, stability and controllability, the company says.


“Looking at alternative refrigerants alone is not enough,” Glober said. “We are also looking at how we engineer our air conditioning systems to better accommodate a change in refrigerant, providing complete system support to our customers.”


Other alternatives are being pursued in parallel to CO2, including Delphi’s support for the Society of Automotive Engineers Improved Mobile Air Conditioning Cooperative research program in the United States.