|March 13, 2008
Protecting the Environment with Sophisticated Technology
The new engine test centre in Neckarsulm supports environmentally friendly power plant testing. Thanks to the use of sophisticated technology, it deploys valuable resources economically and meets high environmental standards. Noise impact on the adjoining residential area has been reduced significantly.
AUDI AG satisfies the most stringent environmental directives with its new engine test centre: “The new building is equipped with a modern air conditioning system with integral heat recovery,” explains Bernd Martin, environment officer at Audi’s Neckarsulm plant. “No fuel has to be burned for heat that is recovered.” Recovered energy does not produce any combustion emissions and therefore helps to protect the environment.
Alongside heat recovery, the new engine test centre stands for another important environmental aspect that benefits the neighbouring residential area in particular: soundproofing of the new test rigs has been optimised, thus reducing noise impact considerably. Special sound absorbers for air supply and waste air systems as well as for the engines’ exhaust systems help to cut the amount of noise emitted considerably. In addition, the outer skin of the innovative building was designed specifically in accordance with soundproofing factors.
While the engine is being tested on the test rig under the toughest of conditions, it aids energy recovery in the process. “The combustion engines are braked during testing by asynchronous machines, thus generating energy,” says Bernd Martin, explaining the technical procedure, which he compares to the way a bicycle dynamo works. “A dynamo generates electrical energy through mechanical power, in much the same way as our engines do with the asynchronous machines.” The power generated in this way is fed back into the building’s power supply system where it is reused.
Safety also played an important role in the plans for the Neckarsulm engine test centre. Fuel, for example, is stored in double-walled, leakage-monitored underground tanks. The engines on the test rigs are generally operated with exhaust-gas treatment systems. In other words, petrol engines are fitted with catalytic converters, diesel engines with particulate filters.
The cooling water used to cool the engines and air-condition the building is also circulated in a closed system. Fresh water is only used to compensate for evaporation losses.
All the engine test centre’s air conditioning systems are controlled, regulated and monitored by a central control system. This enables demand-based system management and monitoring. “In this way we promote environmentally compatible operation and protect valuable resources,” explains Martin.