Exergy Analysis and Environmental Impact Assessment of Using Various Refrigerants for Hybrid Electric Vehicle Thermal Management Systems

  • Halil S. HamutEmail author
  • Ibrahim Dincer
  • Greg F. Naterer


Thermal management systems (TMSs) are one of the key components of hybrid electric vehicles in terms of their impact on vehicle efficiency and performance, as well as the vehicle’s environmental footprint. In this chapter, an environmental assessment of hybrid electric vehicle thermal management systems is developed with respect to various refrigerants such as R134a, R600 (butane), R600a (isobutane), R1234yf (tetrafluoropropene) and dimethyl ether (DME). The energetic and exergetic COPs along with exergy destruction rates are analyzed for the TMS using each refrigerant. Also, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (in g CO2-eq/kWh) during operation and the sustainability index are determined under various system parameters, operating conditions, as well as carbon dioxide scenarios. Based on the results, all selected TMSs are determined to have higher energetic and exergetic COPs along with lower environmental impact than the baseline TMS (which uses R134a) except for the TMS using R1234yf. The highest efficiency and lowest environmental impact are achieved by TMS using DME with higher energetic and exergetic COPs (by 7.9 and 8.2 %, respectively) and lower GHG emissions (by 8.3 %) and higher sustainability index (by 3.3 %) than the baseline TMS.


Environmental assessment Hybrid electric vehicle Thermal management Alternative refrigerants Thermal management system Exergy analysis Refrigerants Hybrid electric vehicle Vehicle efficiency Energetic COP Exergetic COP Exergy destruction Greenhouse gas Sustainability index 



Diameter (m)

\( \dot{E} \)x

Exergy rate (kW)


Friction factor


Specific enthalpy (kJ/kg)

\( \bar{h} \)

Heat transfer coefficient (W/m2 K)


Thermal conductivity (W/m °C)

\( \dot{m} \)

Mass flow rate (kg/s or L/min)


Pressure (kg/m s2)


Prandtl number

\( \dot{Q} \)

Heat transfer rate (kW)


Reynolds number


Specific entropy (kJ/kg K)


Temperature (K or °C)

\( {T_0} \)

Ambient temperature (K or °C)


Overall heat transfer coefficient (W/m2 K)

\( \dot{W} \)

Work rate or power (kW)

Greek Symbols


Change in variable

\( \psi \)

Exergy efficiency








c, cond














e, evap









Thermal expansion valve


Water/glycol mix



Automotive air conditioning system


Air conditioning


Alternative current


Direct current




Conventional vehicle


Coefficients of performance


Dimethyl ether


Engineering equation solver


Electric vehicle


Greenhouse gas


Global warming potential


Hybrid electric vehicle


Internal combustion engine


Life cycle assessment


Normal boiling point


Ozone depleting potential


Phase change material


Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle


Thermal management system


Thermal expansion valve


Volatile organic compound



Financial support from Automotive Partnerships Canada (APC) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Halil S. Hamut
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ibrahim Dincer
    • 1
  • Greg F. Naterer
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Engineering and Applied ScienceUniversity of Ontario Institute of TechnologyOshawaCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of Engineering and Applied ScienceMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada

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