Browse Publications Technical Papers 13-04-01-0008
2023-03-15

Hot Cars, Cool Bodies, No Air Conditioners? 13-04-01-0008

This also appears in SAE International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, Energy, Environment, & Policy-V132-13EJ

A typical modern automobile compressor-driven air conditioner, about powerful enough to cool a house, may not be needed even in very hot, humid climates if we combine insights from comfort theory with innovations in comfort delivery, photonics, and superefficient thermal and air-handling devices. Recent advances can successively minimize unwanted heat gain into the passenger cabin, cool people’s bodies rather than the vehicle, deliver highly effective radiant cooling, passively reject extracted heat to the sky, and, if needed, move air very efficiently and quietly to expand the human comfort range. Together these proven innovations may give automotive occupants excellent hot-weather comfort without refrigerative air conditioning. This substitution could improve climate protection and electric-vehicle range, cut the automobile’s weight and cost, avoid climate and ozone harm from refrigerants, reduce noise and air pollution, make autos more energy-efficient, and save the United States gasoline costing many billions of dollars per year. Prompt experimental tests of such integrative designs are warranted.

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