Optimized Radiator Fan Array for Reduced Power Consumption (2014-030)

Market Overview:

This radiator fan system uses an optimization algorithm to control fan and motor speed resulting in improved fuel and power consumption. Due to a major call from U.S. regulatory committees to have a more aggressive fuel efficiency standard in sport utility and pickup trucks, researchers around the globe have been pushing to have weight reductions or optimize engine efficiency to decrease automobile power consumption. Typically control of the radiator fan relies upon the cooling system fluid temperature. However, this approach poses problems as the coolant can be overcooled and the process is limited by the thermostat for engine cooling. Researchers at Clemson University have developed a cooling system for internal combustion engines that removes waste heat to ensure a normal combustion process. The design includes an optimization algorithm that controls multiple electric radiator fans for improved cooling system performance through precise regulation of the number of active fans and their respective speeds.


Application                                                                                    Stage of Development

Cooling systems for gasoline and diesel engines; vehicles              Validated Prototype



• Lowers fuel consumption, reducing emissions

• Improves cooling system performance, resulting in greater vehicle fuel economy and meeting CAFE standards

• Incorporates smart operation by replacing mechanical radiator fans with computer controlled servo-motor actuators, reducing power consumption by 50 percent compared to conventional systems


Technical Summary

This invention uses a mathematic approach for controlling a multiple radiator electric fan matrix to minimize energy usage for subsequent efficiency gains. The optimization algorithm regulates the electric fan matrix and determines the best combination of electric motor shaft speed and the number of operating axial fan motors. Prototype implementations demonstrate varying fan and speed combinations in order to cool a thermal loaded engine and the use of the mathematical approach. The results verify that this optimization control strategy reduces the fan matrix power consumption by up to 67 percent for the specified thermal load. This creates an improvement in cooling system performance that leads to greater vehicle fuel economy and satisfaction of legislated mobility standards.


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Inventors:                        Tinawei Wang, John R. Wagner, Georges Fadel, Amit Jagarwal


Application Type:            Utility


Serial Number:                14/690,694


CURF Reference:            2014-030

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Andrew Bluvas
Technology Commercialization Officer
Clemson University Research Foundation
Tianwei Wang
John Wagner
Georges Fadel
Amit Jagarwal
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