Mainstream Engineering Awarded Contract from the U.S. Navy for Thermoelectric Cooling Augmentation of the E-2D Liquid Cooling System

ROCKLEDGE, FL – November 19th, 2010 – Mainstream Engineering Corporation, leading research, and development company specializing in advanced thermal control and energy conversion, has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Navy to develop an innovative thermoelectric cooling approach to augment the E-2D Liquid Cooling System.

A 5 °F decrease in cooling temperature within the E-2D Liquid Cooling System (LCS) would translate to an additional 15 kW capacity to remove electronic waste heat. Thermoelectric cooling represents a compact, minimally intrusive method for achieving the desired augmentation while meeting all system constraints. However, a major disadvantage to thermoelectric cooling is the energy penalty associated, with a coefficient of performance (COP) on the order of 0.5 typical, compared to vapor-compression refrigeration cycles with COP = 3 typical. For thermoelectric cooling, the COP is directly dependent upon the packaging of the thermoelectric modules and the overall thermal resistance between the heat source and heat sink. For the E-2D LCS, Mainstream has designed a pre-cooler assembly utilizing commercial-off-the-shelf thermoelectric coolers and advanced heat exchanger designs to yield 5 °F of pre-cooling during ground operations and 8 °F of pre-cooling during flight operations with an overall coefficient of performance of COP = 0.6 and COP = 0.9, respectively. Due to Mainstream’s extensive history with custom heat exchanger designs, the Phase I effort will focus on fabrication and demonstration of the pre-cooler at a 1:13 scale. The Phase II effort will result in full-scale demonstration units for field testing.