Vehicle Transient Air Conditioning Analysis: Model Development & System Optimization Investigations

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed a transient air conditioning (A/C) system model using SINDA/FLUINT analysis software. It captures all the relevant physics of transient A/C system performance, including two-phase flow effects in the evaporator and condenser, system mass effects, air side heat transfer on the condenser/evaporator, vehicle speed effects,temperature-dependent properties, and integration with a simplified cabin thermal model. It has demonstrated robust and powerful system design optimization capabilities. Single-variable and multiple variable design optimizations have been performed and are presented. Various system performance parameters can be optimized, including system COP, cabin cool-down time, and system heat load capacity.This work presents this new transient A/C system analysis and optimization tool and shows some high-level system design conclusions reached to date. The work focuses on R-134a A/C systems, but future efforts will modify the model to investigate the transient performance of alternative refrigerant systems such as carbon dioxide systems. NREL is integrating its transient air conditioning modelinto NREL's ADVISOR vehicle system analysis software, with the objective of simultaneously optimizing A/C system designs within the overall vehicle design optimization.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages43
StatePublished - 2001

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-540-30715


  • optimization
  • R-134A A/C SYSTEMS
  • transient air conditioning


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