Press Release 

New Thermo King Athenia Bus Air Conditioning Modules Provide Increased Energy and Operational Efficiency and Sustainability

19th September 2012

Thermo King offers exclusive dedicated power electronics in bus expected to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent

Thermo King, a manufacturer of transport temperature control systems for a variety of mobile applications and a brand of Ingersoll Rand, is launching a new Athenia range of bus air conditioning modules that save energy, lower costs and increase sustainability, and can be used on all drive trains.

The Athenia E and EA modules, which will be available in early 2013 for all drive trains, will feature unique, dedicated power electronics and hermetically sealed technology that keeps refrigerant contained and lowers life cycle costs while increasing efficiency. The Athenia S module is already available for diesel drive trains.

“The new Athenia units will provide customers with exclusive cutting edge technology that anticipates industry regulations while providing reliable, energy-efficient performance, lower lifecycle costs and increased sustainability,” said Russell Evans, Thermo King product and marketing manager for bus and global rail in the Europe, Middle East, India and Africa region.

While development continues on the forthcoming modules, testing is demonstrating real power reduction results. Thermo King independent benchmark tests have shown that the modules generate a 15 percent reduction in energy consumption. Thermo King leaders plan to ultimately achieve a reduction of more than 25 percent reduction compared to standard mechanically driven systems.

Dedicated Power Electronics

The system’s dedicated power electronics curtail energy use by using minimized cooling power to run the components as efficiently as possible. Existing mechanical systems cannot achieve this minimized energy use. The unit range comes with unique, dedicated power electronics with a compressor option or the traditional compressor-only design.

“Thermo King is believed to be the only known manufacturer offering dedicated power electronics today,” said Evans. “Concerns about fuel costs and the environment are here to stay and are impacting our customers’ profits. We believe that dedicated power electronics represents the future of air conditioning bus design so we’re delivering this cutting edge solution to our customers today.”

Exclusive dedicated Thermo King power electronics use the smallest possible amount of energy to run the components because the compressor and engine speeds are linked. This means that as a bus goes faster with higher engine revolutions per minute, the cooling power also increases.

The ideal solution Thermo King has developed is to drive the compressor and all other components independently, at their most efficient point. Naturally, the compressor and components are connected to drive trains, which have electric power available such as hybrid, fuel cell or full electric, to ‘drive’ them.

Hermetically Sealed Technology

The Athenia modules feature cutting edge hermetically-sealed technology, which consists of a welded design that keeps refrigerant contained. Exclusive to Thermo King, the welded system also reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) and road transport noise emissions for increased sustainability.

The technology meets anticipated environmental regulations from the European Commission and other governing bodies which will require reduced CO2 emissions during road transport.

“Thermo King wanted to provide customers with a range of solutions that will meet future governmental directives while providing sustainability, reliability and energy and operational efficiency that exceed customer needs and expectations. We expect that a significant segment of available systems will soon feature hermetically-sealed technology. We want our customers to have this technology now,” said Evans.

A hermetically-sealed system offers greater reliability from the onset because of the reduced number of components – and because there is no chance of leaks. Because it is an all-in-one system, the entire controller arrives at the original equipment manufacturer in one box, fully charged with only a small amount of refrigerant and ready for easy installation on the bus rooftop.

The design and simplified installation contribute to improved performance reliability and reduced maintenance requirements. A worldwide network of dealers and varying levels of available service contracts help ensure that the systems keep performing at optimum levels.

For more information about the Athenia Series, available power electronics or hermetically-sealed technology, visit or contact a local Thermo King representative.

For more information, please contact Heidi McGuire.