Environmentally friendly CO2 air conditioning system from Liebherr successfully tested in “eco2jet” research project

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CO2-air conditioning system by Liebherr (Credits: Liebherr)

Liebherr-Transportation Systems, together with an Austrian consortium consisting of partners ATT advanced thermal technologies, IESTA, Obrist Engineering, Österreichische Bundesbahnen – ÖBB, Rupert Fertinger, TU-Graz and Virtual Vehicle Competence Centre, has successfully completed the “eco2jet” research project. The project was funded by the Austrian Climate Energy Fund and supported by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), Vienna.

The aim of the project was to develop an environmentally friendly CO2 air conditioning system for rail vehicles as an alternative to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems operated with conventional refrigerants. To this end, a near-production Fast Track Demonstrator (FTD) for an HVAC system with heat pump function using the natural refrigerant R744 (CO2) was developed and installed in a passenger coach from the Railjet fleet operated by ÖBB.

Liebherr had previously tested the FTD in a climatic chamber and then, in cooperation with ÖBB, recorded and evaluated the performance of the system in regular train operation under real conditions. In the more than three-year eco2jet demonstration phase from May 2018 to August 2021, the air conditioning system with CO2 as refrigerant proved to be a reliable and technologically mature concept. The environmentally friendly, energy-saving regular operation of an ÖBB long-distance passenger train with this pioneering technology on board is thus guaranteed and Liebherr has further consolidated its status as an expert in air conditioning systems with natural refrigerants.