Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Compressor Control Valve(ST4994-1)

Alumina Micro, LLC


The flow of refrigerant in an automotive air-conditioning (A/C) system is regulated by a control valve inside the system's variable-stroke compressor. Compressor efficiency, and vehicle fuel economy, can be increased by coupling the valve to external electronic logic devices and additional sensors. Attempts to do this have been limited by the size, cost, and complexity of the additional components. Alumina Micro developed a concept for an advanced electronic control valve (AECV) that uses miniaturized, imbedded electronics to achieve the desired benefits without requiring additional external components. Delphi Harrison, a major supplier of A/C systems to General Motors and others, identified this technology as a potential key feature of future A/C systems.

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Project Description

This project began in 1999. Alumina Micro, working in conjunction with Delphi Harrison, defined AECV specifications, generated design options for evaluation, selected designs for further development, and built and tested valve prototypes. The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Center for Automation Technologies (RPI-CAT) supported the project by designing and building a bench test facility and by fabricating and testing prototype valves.


The AECV may produce a 0.5 mile per gallon increase in fuel economy in a typical passenger car, saving large amounts of gasoline and reducing air pollution.

Project Results

Good technical results were achieved , but at the time the project was completed the vehicle manufacturers placed relatively little value on the fuel saving potential of the product. Strengthened federal fuel economy standards that have now been enacted may revive interest in the subject innovation.


Alumina Micro, LLC
9150 Clarence Center Rd
Clarence Center, NY 14032

Principle Investigator

Steve Booth

Universities Involved

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:

Light Duty

NYSERDA Contact Information

Joseph Wagner


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST4994-1

Last Updated: 3/13/2012