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Innovative Cooling System for Car Interiors

Prize: 10,000€

Status: Completed

Background

Grupo Antolin is one of the largest players in the car interior market internationally and first global supplier of headliner substrates. Grupo Antolin started its business journey in the 1950s as a mechanics garage in Burgos, Spain, and today it has become a leading multinational company in the development, design and manufacture of interior components for the automobile industry with a long industrial tradition and mastery of a broad technology portfolio.

The company is a key reference in the automotive sector, offering products with high added value to outfit automobile interiors: Overheads & Trunk Trim, Doors & Hard Trim, Lighting and Cockpits & Consoles. GA is a profitable, competitive company established in 25 countries where more than 30,000 individuals provide their skills. Creativity, leadership and client satisfaction continue to be the core values of the Company today, which are the best recipe for success in the future.

 

The challenge

For decades, the cooling of car interiors could be controlled through the HVAC (Heat, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning), compressed gas, and air flow. 

Although this solution is widespread, the current and future challenges of the automotive industry show the limitations and weaknesses of this system. 

Energy factors:

  • The energy consumption is very high, which reduces the vehicle’s autonomy. In extreme conditions, the vehicle can use 30% of fuel or cut 40% short the electric battery range (urban driving cycle).
  • It is an additional, heavy element for the vehicle, which translates into a higher consumption. 

Thermal comfort factors: 

  • One system for every passenger with a limited possibility of real customization. 
  • The cooling air flow may be unpleasant, therefore it is not an element of thermal comfort.
  • Because of the high pollution levels in cities, the inflow of outside air negatively impacts both the safety and health of the passengers.

Environmental factors:

  • In addition, because of the HVAC, there is an up to 70% increase of polluting gases (NOx and CO) emissions in combustion engines. 

What the client is looking for

Grupo Antolin is looking for efficient alternatives to traditional cooling systems (HVAC) for car interiors to minimize energy use and increase the passengers’ comfort. 

The new proposed systems should be used either in conjunction with the current HVAC system or independently.

The heating system is not within the scope of this challenge since GA already has solutions for this issue.

The expected solution must comply with as many of the following requirements as possible: 

  • Provide a 14-24 ᵒC temperature range inside the car, considering the car and the location with the weather conditions described in Annex 3. The solution’s working temperature can never go below 4ᵒC if the user can make contact. 
  • Integrate the solution with the Grupo Antolin parts (Annex 1) or have them work together. 
  • The cooling and/or insulation active and passive solutions should work separately and/or in conjunction, in both moving and stationary vehicles. 
  • Energy efficient solutions are a priority. They must reduce the HVAC system consumption by 50% and be lighter, factors which must positively impact on mileage range of both the current vehicle (combustion engine, hybrid) and the future one (fully electric engine, hydrogen). 
  • The solutions must be easily adaptable to changing environments and external weather conditions. They must also adapt to the passengers requirements and be extremely versatile. 
  • The use of parts outside the Grupo Antolin portfolio is discouraged, as is the use of mobile parts. The integration of the solutions must be smooth. 
  • GA will positively evaluate solutions that keep the current vehicle air inlets and outlets. Other possibilities will also be considered, but will receive negative points.
  • The solutions cannot affect any factor related to user comfort such as CO2 concentration, humidity, etc. 
  • The implementation of temperature-control elements and environmental factors that affect the passengers’ comfort will be positively evaluated. 

See annexes:

  • Annex 1: Description and models/sketches of the parts manufactured by Grupo Antolin.
  • Annex 2: Weather conditions inside the vehicle, cooling system’s energy consumption, and passenger comfort. 
  • Annex 3: Weather conditions

Evaluation criteria

The proposed solutions will be evaluated according to the order of importance of the following criteria:

  • Efficiency: the solutions must comply with the temperature requirements and must be adaptable enough for the environment and the passengers. 
  • Integration: The solutions must be integrated within the Grupo Antolin parts and scalable. 
  • Efficiency: Low energy consumption, always below the current numbers.
  • Comprehensive solution: different cooling approaches, combination of technologies in the parts. It may include insulation, control, etc. which complete the system as much as possible.
  • Cost: cost-efficient and viable solution within the automotive industry.
  • Durability: the solution must need no maintenance or replacement during the working life of the parts (10 years).

Additional factors like easy implementation, originality, highly developed solutions, and easy to manufacture on an industrial scale.

This is a 1-round tournament with the following submissions:

PDF Document including:

  • Description and models/sketches of the proposed solution.
  • Solution rationale of how the proposal evaluates and enhances the refrigeration effect.
  • Feasibility evidence of the defined solution to be compliant with the requirements.
  • Estimated solution energy consumption.

 

Tournament Structure and Timeline

This is a one-round challenge with the following deadlines:

● 6 weeks + 4 weeks for evaluation

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