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Cooling arrangement for system for generating electric power

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Title: Cooling arrangement for system for generating electric power.
Abstract: A cooling arrangement for a system for generating electric power may include at least one heat exchanger configured to cool air entering an engine operably associated with the system. The arrangement may further include a first fan configured to supply air to the at least one heat exchanger, and at least one radiator configured to cool engine coolant. The arrangement may also include a second fan configured to supply air to the at least one radiator. The arrangement may be configured such that air supplied to the at least one radiator is not supplied to the at least one heat exchanger prior to being supplied to the at least one radiator. ...


USPTO Applicaton #: #20090323259 - Class: 361676 (USPTO) - 12/31/09 - Class 361 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20090323259, Cooling arrangement for system for generating electric power.

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This application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/129,417, filed Jun. 25, 2008, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates to a cooling arrangement, and more particularly, to a cooling arrangement for a system for generating electric power.

BACKGROUND

It may be desirable to generate electric power, for example, in situations in which electric power is not available from an electric power utility source, for example, in remote locations and/or locations experiencing a power outage. This may be accomplished, for example, using electric power generation systems that are configured to generate electric power via operation of one or more internal combustion engines to drive an electric machine configured to convert mechanical energy supplied by the one or more engines into electric power.

Such power generation systems may be configured to facilitate transport of the power generation system to a location where such power generation is desired. Some such systems may be housed in, for example, a container such as a trailer, and operation of the engine(s) and/or electric machine results in accumulation of heat. Thus, it may be desirable to prevent an accumulation of heat within the container in order to improve operation of the power generation system. Further, some engines used for power generation systems may include one or more turbochargers, and it may be desirable to cool the air supplied to the one or more turbochargers in order to improve the efficiency of the turbochargers and/or reduce the emissions associated with operation of the engine. Some systems may use a heat exchanger to reduce the temperature of air supplied to the turbochargers, but such heat exchangers, for example, when installed in a container with the engine, may result in increasing the temperature inside the container. For example, heat exchangers may be located between an engine and a radiator for cooling engine coolant, and air flowing to the radiator may be already heated to a higher temperature via the heat exchanger before reaching the radiator. This may reduce the cooling effectiveness of the radiator. Therefore, it may be desirable to provide a power generation system with a cooling arrangement that reduces the effects of a heat exchanger located in a container housing at least the engine of a power generation system.

A portable power module is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,007,966, issued to Campion (“the \'966 patent”). The \'966 patent discloses air ducts for a portable power module trailerable over public roads. The portable power module includes a shipping container housing a gaseous fuel motor drivably connected to an electrical generator. The \'966 patent discloses air ducts positioned on a side of the container, which introduce ambient air into the container for cooling of the motor and the generator and for combustion in the motor. The power module disclosed in the \'966 patent may not, however, be provided with sufficient and/or efficient cooling.

The systems and methods described in an exemplary manner in the present disclosure may be directed to mitigating or overcoming one or more of the drawbacks set forth above.

SUMMARY

In one aspect, the present disclosure includes a cooling arrangement for a system for generating electric power. The cooling arrangement may include at least one heat exchanger configured to cool air entering an engine operably associated with the system. The arrangement may further include a first fan configured to supply air to the at least one heat exchanger, and at least one radiator configured to cool engine coolant. The arrangement may also include a second fan configured to supply air to the at least one radiator. The arrangement may be configured such that air supplied to the at least one radiator is not supplied to the at least one heat exchanger prior to being supplied to the at least one radiator.

According to a further aspect, a system for generating electric power may include an engine configured to output mechanical power, and an electric machine configured to convert mechanical power into electric power, the electric machine being operably coupled to the engine. The system may further include at least one heat exchanger configured to cool air entering the engine and at least one radiator configured to cool engine coolant. The system may be configured such that air flowing through the radiator is not passed through the heat exchanger prior to reaching the radiator.

According to another aspect, a method for improving cooling effectiveness of a radiator operably associated with a system for generating electric power may include providing a first flow of air to at least one heat exchanger operably associated with an air intake of an engine, and providing a second flow of air to the radiator, wherein the second flow of air has not been heated by exposure to the at least one heat exchanger.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic, partial cutaway plan view of an exemplary embodiment of a system for generating electric power.

FIG. 2 is a schematic, partial cutaway elevation view of the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a schematic, partial cutaway perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a system for generating electric power.

FIG. 4 is a schematic, partial section view of an exemplary embodiment of a partition.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 1 and 2 show an exemplary embodiment of a system 10 for generating electric power. System 10 may include an engine 12 configured to supply mechanical power and an electric machine 14 operably coupled to engine 12 and configured to convert mechanical power into electric power. Engine 12 may be any internal combustion engine, including a spark-ignition engine, a compression ignition engine, a homogeneous-charge compression-ignition engine, and/or a gas turbine engine. Engine 12 may be configured to run on any fuel, such as, for example, gasoline, diesel fuel including bio-diesel fuel, natural gas, ethanol, methanol, hydrogen, and/or any combinations thereof. Other types of engines and fuels are contemplated. Electric machine 14 may be any type of electric generator known to those skilled in the art. For example, electric machine 14 may include a three-phase AC synchronous generator.

System 10 may further include power load connections 16 configured to facilitate supply of electric power generated by system 10 to any device or system that receives input of a source of electric power, such as, for example, a power grid. According to some embodiments, a number of systems 10 may be coupled to one another and/or used together to supply additional electric power.

As depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, exemplary system 10 may include one or more control panels 18 configured to control operation of engine 12, electric machine 14, and/or any systems associated with system 10. For example, control panel(s) 18 may include electronic control systems configured to control operation of engine 12 and/or electric machine 14, such that system 10 supplies electric power in a desired and/or controlled manner. According to some embodiments, control panel 18 may include an interface for providing an operator with information or data relating to operation of engine 12 and/or electric machine 14, and further, may include controls configured to facilitate an operator\'s ability to control operation of engine 12, electric machine 14, and/or any other systems associated with system 10. For example, control panel 18 may facilitate an operator\'s control of the electric power output of system 10, for example, by controlling the voltage and frequency of the power output.

According to the exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, system 10 may include a housing 20 configured to provide protection to various components of system 10. For example, housing 20 may include walls, for example, opposing side walls 22, a front wall 24, and one or more rear doors 26, a floor 28, and a roof 30, defining an exterior and, possibly also, an interior of housing 20. According to some embodiments, system 10 may include one or more devices 32 configured to facilitate transport of system 10 between sites that may desire a supply of electric power. For example, the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1 includes a number of wheels for facilitating towing of system 10 via a vehicle, such as a truck or tractor (e.g., housing 20 may be in the form at least similar to a trailer configured to be towed in a manner similar to trailers of a tractor trailer rig). Other types of devices 32 (e.g., tracks, wheels configured to travel along railroad tracks, pontoons, and/or skids) known to those skilled in the art are contemplated. As explained in more detail herein, some embodiments of housing 20 may define one or more passages between an exterior of housing 20 and an interior of housing 20.

According to some embodiments, system 10 may include a reservoir 34 (e.g., a fuel tank) within the interior of housing 20 for providing a supply of fuel to engine 12. Reservoir 34 may be coupled to engine 12 via one or more fuels lines (not shown). According to some embodiments, reservoir 34 may be located external to housing 20 and/or fuel may be supplied via an external source, such as, for example, a pipe line for supplying a fuel, such as, for example, gasoline, diesel fuel, natural gas, hydrogen, ethanol, methanol, and/or any combinations thereof.

According to some embodiments, system 10 may include a cooling system 36 configured to regulate the temperature of engine 12 and/or electric machine 14. For example, cooling system 36 may include one or more heat exchangers 38, such as, for example, one or more air-to-air-after-coolers (ATAAC) operably coupled to engine 12 and/or one or more radiators 40, such as, for example, a jacket water radiator, operably coupled to engine 12. According to some embodiments, engine 12 may include one or more turbochargers (not shown), and heat exchanger(s) 38 may be operably coupled to the one or more turbochargers to cool air entering engine 12 (e.g., entering turbocharger(s)). System 10 may include one or more fans 42, for example, located between engine 12 and heat exchanger(s) 38. Fan(s) 42 may be operably coupled to engine 12 via a drive belt (not shown) and/or may be driven via an electric motor (not shown), and may supply a flow of air to and/or through heat exchanger 38 in order to provide cooling air to heat exchanger 38.

Exemplary radiator(s) 40 may be configured to receive and cool a flow of engine coolant (e.g., a liquid engine coolant), which may be circulated into and/or through engine 12 via coolant lines (not shown), thereby cooling engine 12. One or more fans 44 may be associated with radiator 40 and may be configured to provide a flow of cooling air to radiator 40. Fan(s) 44 may be driven, for example, via an electric motor (not shown), which may be coupled to fan 44 via, for example, a belt drive (not shown).

According to some embodiments, as shown, for example, in FIGS. 1-3, housing 20 may include a partition 46 positioned between heat exchanger 38 and radiator 40. According to some embodiments, one or more of side walls 22 of housing 20 may include air passages 48 (e.g., louvers (see FIG. 3)) configured to permit passage of air into and/or out of housing 20. Further, roof 30 of housing 20 may define one or more openings 50 located in the vicinity of heat exchanger 38 and/or radiator 40. According to some embodiments, fan(s) 42 associated with heat exchanger 38 may be configured to draw air into housing 20 at A via passages 48 and through heat exchanger 38 at B in a first direction. Upon flow though heat exchanger 38, the air may be diverted via partition 46 and through opening(s) 50 in roof 30 at C, for example, in a direction generally orthogonal to the first direction.

According to some embodiments, fan(s) 44 may be configured to draw air into and through radiator 40 via an open end of housing 20, for example, via opening one or more of rear doors 26 (or via openings (not shown) in rear doors 26) at D in a second direction, where the air may then be diverted via partition 46 and out opening(s) 50 in roof 38 at E, for example, in a direction generally orthogonal to the second direction.

According to the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 3, partition 46 may be separated from heat exchanger 38 via a longitudinal distance X1 ranging from about 35 inches to about 60 inches, for example, from about 40 inches to about 50 inches, for example, about 44 inches. According to some embodiments, partition 46 may be separated from radiator 28 via a longitudinal distance X2 ranging from about 40 inches to about 65 inches, for example, from about 45 inches to about 60 inches, for example, about 55 inches. These distances are exemplary. Such an exemplary configuration may result in improved packaging and/or improved cooling.

According to the exemplary embodiment of partition 46 shown in FIG. 4, partition 46 may include an interior sheet 52 located between layers of insulating material 54, which in turn, may be between two exterior sheets 56 of material. For example, interior sheet 52 may be formed from aluminum, steel, carbon fiber, and/or any other suitable material. Insulating material 54 may include rock wool and/or any other suitable material. According to some embodiments, one or more of exterior sheets 56 may be perforated aluminum sheets and/or any other suitable material. Partition 46 may have a thickness Y, for example, ranging from about 3 inches to about 6 inches, for example, about 4 inches.

According to some embodiments, opening(s) 50 in roof 38 may include, for example, a sheet of mesh material (not shown), such as for example, grated metal (e.g., grated steel), extending at least partially (e.g., fully across) opening(s) 50 in roof 30.

According to some embodiments, engine 12 may include an exhaust system 58 (see FIGS. 1 and 2) configured to remove heat and/or combustion products from housing 20. For example, exhaust system 58 may include a roof-mounted muffler 60 in flow communication with engine 12. Exhaust system 58 may further include one or more extensions 62 downstream of muffler 60 configured to provide a flow path for exhaust gas from engine 12 to the exterior of housing 20 via muffler 60. For example, as shown in FIG. 1, extension(s) 62 may extend above heat exchanger 38 from muffler 60 to one or more opening(s) 50 in roof 30, such that exhaust gas exits via opening(s) 50.

According to some embodiments, for example, as shown in FIG. 2, system 10 may include an interface 64 for facilitating control and/or monitoring of system 10. For example, interface 64 may include electrical connectors for facilitating electric connection between controller(s) 18 and systems located exterior to housing 20 for facilitating, for example, load sharing between power generation systems, provision of shore power (e.g., power for battery chargers and/or control system associated with system 10), monitoring of the status of system 10.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

Exemplary system 10 may be used to generate electric power, for example, in situations in which electric power is not available from an electric power utility source, for example, in remote locations and/or locations experiencing a power outage. One or more engines 12 of exemplary system 10 may be configured to output mechanical power, and one or more electric machines 14 may be configured to convert mechanical power into electric power. One or more control panels 18 may be configured to facilitate control of at least one of engine 12 and electric machine 14. Housing 20 may be configured to contain at least one of engine 12 and electric machine 14.

Exemplary cooling system 36 may be configured to regulate the temperature of engine 12 and/or electric machine 14. For example, one or more heat exchangers 38 may be operably coupled to engine 12 and/or one or more radiators 40 may be operably coupled to engine 12. Heat exchanger(s) 38 may be operably coupled to the one or more turbochargers to cool air entering engine 12 (e.g., entering turbocharger(s)). Fan(s) 42 may supply a flow of air to and/or through heat exchanger 38 in order to provide cooling air to heat exchanger 38.

Exemplary radiator(s) 40 may be configured to receive and cool a flow of engine coolant, which may be circulated into and/or through engine 12 via coolant lines (not shown), thereby cooling engine 12. Fan(s) 44 may be configured to provide a flow of cooling air to radiator 40.

According to some embodiments, fan(s) 42 associated with heat exchanger 38 may be configured to draw air into housing 20 at A via passages 48 and through heat exchanger 38 at B in a first direction. Upon flow though heat exchanger 38, the air may be diverted via partition 46 and through opening(s) 50 in roof 30 at C, for example, in a direction generally orthogonal to the first direction. According to some embodiments, fan(s) 44 may be configured to draw air into and through radiator 40 via an open end of housing 20, for example, via opening one or more of rear doors 26 (or via openings (not shown) in rear doors 26) at D in a second direction, where the air may then be diverted via partition 46 and out opening(s) 50 in roof 38 at E, for example, in a direction generally orthogonal to the second direction.

Providing cooling air for heat exchanger 38 and radiator 40, such that air flow supplied to radiator 40 has not been heated by heat exchanger 38 may provide advantages relative to some conventional arrangements. For example, some conventional arrangements position a heat exchanger between an engine and radiator, and use a fan to push air through the heat exchanger, where it is heated prior to passing through the radiator. Since the air in such arrangements is heated by the heat exchanger prior to reaching the radiator, it may not provide sufficient and/or efficient cooling for the radiator, which may lead to inadequate cooling and/or the necessity of using a larger radiator, or additional radiators, to provide adequate cooling. According to some embodiments disclosed herein, air entering radiator 40 has not been heated via heat exchanger 38 prior to passing through radiator 40.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made to the exemplary disclosed systems and methods for generating electric power. Other embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art from consideration of the specification and practice of the exemplary disclosed systems and methods. It is intended that the specification and examples be considered as exemplary only.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20090323259 A1
Publish Date
12/31/2009
Document #
12217875
File Date
07/09/2008
USPTO Class
361676
Other USPTO Classes
16510431, 16510433
International Class
/
Drawings
3


Anger
Coolant
Radiator


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