Rheinmetall supplies prototype for environmentally friendly propane-based thermo-modules

The tech enterprise Rheinmetall has received an order to supply a functional prototype of a propane‐based thermo‐module. Developed by the Group’s Sensors and Actuators division, the innovative thermo‐module enables various operating modes in connection with propane (R290), a natural refrigerant. Compared to chemical refrigerants in this performance class, it offers the advantage of extreme efficiency and effectiveness when it comes to cooling capacity and environmental friendliness. The customer is a major European automotive supplier. In addition to the module, already delivered in the meantime, the contract includes support for the customer’s ongoing development work.

By supplying the functional model, Rheinmetall is supporting the customer’s build of a demonstrator vehicle for certifying the functionality of the new thermal management system. Besides controlling the temperature in the passenger compartment, this system is responsible for thermal management, i.e., heating and cooling, of the entire drive train, including the electric motor, traction battery, inverter and charging equipment. The customer is responsible for assuring proper functioning of the switch between operating modes. The thermo‐module itself performs two functions in the system: it increases the temperature level of the coolant when the components need to be heated or extracting the heat when cooling is necessary.

The thermo‐module is designed as a compact system. It is designed in a way to minimize the need of refrigerant lines. Its compact size makes it easy to integrate it into the infrastructure of the test vehicle and reduces the refrigerant charge amount. An 800V electric coolant compressor matches the voltage of the vehicle’s electric system. Coupled with the system’s reduced charge volume, using propane (a natural refrigerant) makes an effective contribution to protecting the environment.

Refrigerant compressors draw gaseous refrigerant into a closed circuit and compress it to the specified working pressure. Properly designed, compressors can assure a high degree of efficiency, together with a long service life and low operating noise. Depending on how the process is controlled, heat and cold can be produced very efficiently, making coolant compressors an important tool for
minimizing CO2 emissions.

Thanks to its global presence and R&D expertise, Rheinmetall develops meticulously targeted, made‐to‐measure technologies for a vast array of applications. A globe‐spanning production network and proximity to customers worldwide make the Group a competent, agile partner not only of the automotive sector, but increasingly of other industrial sectors also.

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