NREL – Ventilated seats improve FE.

Discussion in 'In the News' started by Valleyforge, Mar 3, 2006.

  1. Valleyforge

    Valleyforge *****istrator Staff Member

    Research Shows Ventilated Auto Seats Improve Fuel Economy, Comfort

    NREL - Thursday, March 2, 2006


    Golden, Colo. — The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has demonstrated that ventilated automotive seats not only can improve passenger comfort but also a vehicle's fuel economy. That's because ventilated seats keep drivers and passengers cooler, so they need less air conditioning to be comfortable.

    NREL's Vehicle Ancillary Loads Reduction team has been working with industry to try to reduce fuel consumption from air conditioning in cars and trucks. The use of ventilated seating is one way to cut air conditioning, and recent research shows that it works.

    "If all passenger vehicles had ventilated seats, we estimate that there could be a 7.5 percent reduction in national air-conditioning fuel use. That translates to a savings of 522 million gallons of fuel a year," said John Rugh, project leader for NREL's Vehicle Ancillary Loads Reduction Project.
    W.E.T. Automotive Systems Ltd. provided NREL with ComfortCools® seats for testing. Each seat contains two fans that pull air from the seat surface and out from underneath the seat. General Motors currently offers this ventilated seat as an option for the Cadillac STS.

    Using its suite of thermal comfort tools and subjective test data, NREL measured improvement in human thermal sensation for the ventilated seats and the potential for a 7 percent reduction in air-conditioning compressor power.

    NREL developed its thermal comfort tools to help the automotive industry design smaller and more efficient climate-control systems in vehicles. The tools consist of a one-of-a-kind thermal comfort manikin called ADAM (ADvanced Automotive Manikin)—which actually breathes and sweats—along with a physiological model and psychological model. Linked together, these tools assess comfort in a transient, nonhomogeneous environment, unlike other commonly used models based on steady-state, uniform environmental data.

    NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle.

    For further information contact NREL Public Affairs at (303) 275-4090.
  2. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    Good ideas from the department that had their funding restored. {thumbs up}. It would probably save weight as well.
  3. cleverlever

    cleverlever Active Member

    We spend our tax money for this?

    This will seperate this group out according to age.

    How many of you remember the car seat cushions with the coiled wire springs your dad sat on when he drove the car? How much government R&D do you think was spent evaluating the efficiency of that product?
  4. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Cob:

    ___Remember that we purchase cars in the here and now, not 30 + years ago … Would you really like to drive your Father’s Oldsmobile on today’s highways and byways? Unsafe at any speed would be my comment ;)

    ___Anything to help lower fuel consumption is a plus in my eyes and not many seemed to have thought about this solution in the very recent past. I know Lincoln and Lexus have A/C equipped seats in many of their upper end lineup and I would not be surprised to see even more automobiles with A/C and ventilated seats in the near future. The next question … Do the A/C equipped seats also save on fuel or just the ventilated ones? I have never looked into it myself but if the A/C units were designed properly, small, electric based, and a much smaller BTU cap, it could do wonders when driving in temps of upwards of 80 – 85 degrees in a bottled up automobile. If they are plumbed from the main A/C compressor, A/C based seats are a just another load and thus another waste path.

    ___Good Luck

  5. tigerhonaker

    tigerhonaker Platinum Contributor

    It would appear to me that G/M is not always behind the Times on everything.
    General Motors currently offers this ventilated seat as an option for the Cadillac STS.
    I say give Credit where Credit is Due. Way to go G/M.

    Hey, Wayne thank's for sharing the article. I new about the Ventilated Seats but honestly never even though about the Increased Fuel Savings. (Less A/C Compressor -On-Time) Interesting. I think I read where in another Thread, maybe on a different Forum that a member there had actually installed them in their vehicle. It seems like these ventilated seat covers are used in Europe more so than here. I think that alot of their vehicles don't have A/C option.

    I may if I have the time later see if I can do a locate and find that Thread. Might be interesting to see where the member actually found them. (Ventilated-Seat-Covers)



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