Yes, you can design a remote cooling system for an ATACAC engine.

I can almost guarantee that you will soon face a requirement for a remote cooling system, probably due to a lack of sufficient ventilation in the generator/engine room.  If you do a fair amount of work on projects that require emergency power, there is a good chance that you already have some experience with remote-mounted radiators.

With the continued push by engine manufacturers to increase power output while reducing emissions, you may soon encounter a new breed of engines that utilize an air-to-air charge-air-cooled (ATACAC) cooling system.  This technology is quickly being adopted and is now common in engines rated between 500 and 2000 hp.  Although very efficient, the system has very strict performance requirements, and they can cause headaches to the design engineers responsible for laying out the required components and the associated piping.  The biggest hurdle in designing a remote cooling system for an ATACAC engine is the very small pressure drop allowed in the charge-air circuit.  A very low allowance (usually less than 3psi) for piping pressure losses requires that a charge-air heat exchanger and an auxiliary water pump (sometimes two pumps) be located in close proximity to the engine, while the remote radiator is placed where proper ventilation is available (usually an outdoor courtyard or rooftop).  Being that these designs are unique from project to project, all sorts of “one off” piping arrangements find their way to the project’s site.  Most work just fine, but I suspect many were very costly and difficult to implement (from a construction standpoint).

Here is one example where an “airbox” (used as a heat exchanger to cool the turbo-charged air) is suspended from the ceiling in front of the engine.  Note the numerous welds required on the rigid piping between the airbox and the engine.

Shown below is the auxiliary pump, which circulates coolant between the airbox and the remote radiator.  It was mounted against a wall, and elevated from the floor.

As these cooling systems become more common, some manufacturers have designed integrated packages that allow for a simpler, “bolt-on”, installation in the field.  Moreover, new designs take into account the future needs for service-ability and safety while performing any work on the equipment.  Key design features include pre-formed pipe kits, a built-in pump platform and a pre-designed stand for the “airbox” heat exchanger.  You can see a good example in this animated video (Can’t see the video below? Click here):

When faced with an application requiring a specialized remote cooling system, reach out to a trusted source for engineering support.  The local sales representative for your preferred cooling system manufacturer may have already faced the situation that you are struggling to overcome.  If so, he or she may be able to offer a simple method for you to complete your design objectives on time and on-budget.

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