12/10/2023 | Press release

Rheinmetall supplies prototype for environmentally friendly propane‐based thermo‐modules

Key facts
  • Rheinmetall supplies prototype for environmentally friendly thermo‐modules
  • Propane is an extremely efficient and effective natural coolant that safeguards the environment
  • Customer is a major European auto parts supplier
  • To be used for certifying the functionality of a new type of thermal management

The tech enterprise Rheinmetall has received an order to supply a functional
prototype of a propane‐based thermo‐module. Developed by the Group’s Sensors
and Actuators division, the innovative thermo‐module enables various operating
modes in connection with propane (R290), a natural refrigerant. Compared to
chemical refrigerants in this performance class, it offers the advantage of extreme
efficiency and effectiveness when it comes to cooling capacity and environmental
friendliness. The customer is a major European automotive supplier. In addition to
the module, already delivered in the meantime, the contract includes support for
the customer’s ongoing development work.

By supplying the functional model, Rheinmetall is supporting the customer’s build
of a demonstrator vehicle for certifying the functionality of the new thermal
management system. Besides controlling the temperature in the passenger
compartment, this system is responsible for thermal management, i.e., heating
and cooling, of the entire drive train, including the electric motor, traction battery,
inverter and charging equipment. The customer is responsible for assuring proper
functioning of the switch between operating modes. The thermo‐module itself
performs two functions in the system: it increases the temperature level of the
coolant when the components need to be heated or extracting the heat when
cooling is necessary.

The thermo‐module is designed as a compact system. It is designed in a way to
minimize the need of refrigerant lines. Its compact size makes it easy to integrate
it into the infrastructure of the test vehicle and reduces the refrigerant charge
amount. An 800V electric coolant compressor matches the voltage of the vehicle’s
electric system. Coupled with the system’s reduced charge volume, using propane
(a natural refrigerant) makes an effective contribution to protecting the

Refrigerant compressors draw gaseous refrigerant into a closed circuit and
compress it to the specified working pressure. Properly designed, compressors
can assure a high degree of efficiency, together with a long service life and low
operating noise. Depending on how the process is controlled, heat and cold can
be produced very efficiently, making coolant compressors an important tool for
minimizing CO2 emissions.

Thanks to its global presence and R&D expertise, Rheinmetall develops
meticulously targeted, made‐to‐measure technologies for a vast array of
applications. A globe‐spanning production network and proximity to customers
worldwide make the Group a competent, agile partner not only of the automotive
sector, but increasingly of other industrial sectors also.


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