Compressor cooler - intercooler

Intercoolers - Vestas design

Situated between the first and second stages of an air compressor, the intercooler cools the compressed air before it is further compressed.

Vestas uses technology similar to its diesel engine turbo-charged air coolers for this process. Water cooled with fins on the airside.

Vestas can provide just the intercooler element OR the entire unit including the outer casing. Series production for OM requirements is already carried out for leading compressor makers, but we are also able to design and build for bespoke special requirements.

See here if you have special requirements

What is an intercooler?

There is some debate about the name; “intercooler”. Does it mean a cooler between two separate cooling stages (low pressure & high pressure) OR between the compressor and the unit requiring the compressed air?

In day to day business related to turbo charged engines, the intercooler is most often referred to as the “charge air cooler”. (For “charged”, read “pressurised”).

How does an intercooler work?

Like any heat exchanger, there has to be something to exchange the heat into. A second medium. In most cases, the second medium is cool water. The heat energy in the “charged” air, is exchanged into the cool water. So; you may see air in at 200°C and out at 45°C, with the water in at say 25°C and out at 50°C.

The exchange is achieved simply by passing the two mediums (air and water) as close to each other as possible - most often using tubes for the water and fins attached to those tubes with the air passing over the fins. The heat energy goes into the fin material (copper for example), then transfers through the metal, through the wall of the tube and into the water, then away.

Inter Cooler Medium


How does an intercooler benefit an engine?

Turbo charged diesel engines are all fitted with a charge air cooler that will reduce the air temperature from some 200°C to around 45°C, the optimum temperature for the operation of the engine.

There are trends today for lower temperatures still. As engine inlet temperatures reduce, emission do too.

Do you gain performance from the use of an intercooler? There is a very useful document here that goes into the detail.

Are diesel intercoolers different from petrol?

No. Wherever you are compressing air, there will be an increase in temperature. That applies no matter what the circumstances and regardless of the engine type. The only question is how much do you want to cool the air

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