Active Charge Air Cooling – how does it work?

Posted: 9th April, 2018

Active Charge Air Cooling – how does it work?

When people see our products for the first time, they often ask “How does it work?”  It can appear a bit mysterious at first but there’s no magic, just good, solid thermodynamics and sound engineering.  So, here goes with a quick guide to our Active Charge Air Cooling system (ACC).


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The piece of equipment looks somewhat similar to a conventional turbocharger and consists of a compressor and a turbine mounted on the same shaft.  We actually use expansion through the turbine to cool the charge air – in effect, it is a refrigerator.  The thermodynamic process is ‘air standard refrigeration cooling’.

Here’s how it works:

  • The vehicle’s engine and its turbocharger are unchanged from a conventional installation. 
  • The air from the turbocharger is cooled through an intercooler (radiator) as normal and then is compressed by the compressor in our machine. 
  • The air is then cooled in another intercooler before being expanded across the turbo-expander turbine which reduces the temperature of the exiting air to well below ambient levels if needed.
  • The power generated by the expander’s turbine is used to drive the turbo-expander’s compressor so it is, in effect, self-powered.
  • The now nicely cold air then enters the engine to mix with the fuel and provide the combustion to generate power.

So far so simple but our system does much more than just reduce the inlet temperature.  Active Charge Air Cooling is a means for both reducing and controlling charge air temperatures.  Temperature control is achieved by an air mixing process driven by target air manifold temperature, all controlled by our Patented control process.  Reducing intake air temperature improves the knock margin, enabling reductions in excess fuel inputs and improving both power and fuel economy.  Our system allows the designer or owner to set the required inlet temperature and that will be maintained during variations in ambient conditions and the load on the engine.

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