i-HeCoBatt project has achieved a smart, cost bursting industrial battery heat exchanger to minimize the impact on full electric vehicle range in extreme conditions.
Smart, because new sensing functionalities are implemented in the thermal system in order to monitor the behavior of the whole battery pack thermal system.
Cost, bursting because expensive components of current state of the art SoA products are replaced by cost efficient components as well as the number of parts minimized.
Industrial, in two different senses: (i) it has been tested in a relevant industrial environment (simulated), and (ii) it has been produced through high throughput manufacturing routes, applying the eco design methodology to optimise its environmental and economic performance.
The i-HeCoBatt project brings advancements in battery heating and cooling systems, improving the overall e-powertrain (PWT) efficiency and reducing the need for raw materials.
The battery pack (BP) is benefitted from the novel heating and cooling system: the new implemented sensors and associated software, together with the improved adaptive TMS (Thermal Management System) performance, thanks to the novel heat exchanger, provided with greater thermal control. It allows operating in a more stable operational window and managing securely extreme conditions due to fast charging, weather, etc.
Consequently, BP’s operation and service life are enhanced with increased reliability and safety. In addition, the reduction of weight of the heat exchanger has a direct impact as less energy consumption due to the reduced overall EV weight.
Indirectly, the novel battery cooling and heating system of i-HeCoBatt coupled with the thermal control strategy developed supports the over-heating control of the system during the charging scenario at high power, which is considered an extreme condition that can affect the battery service life.
I-HeCoBatt consists of eight (9) WPs that include the necessary activities to ensure the proposal objectives are implemented and the expected impacts are met.
1: Project management and coordination.
WP1 consists of tasks that ensure the efficient and effective co-ordination and management of the proposal, involving all proposal partners in order to guarantee the proposal is timely and successfully executed in terms of objectives, milestones and deliverables.
This WP also includes the direct communication between the proposal consortium and the European Commission and foresees risk identification and assessment with the aim to develop strategies to address them and implement the necessary corrective actions.
2: Thermal characterization of battery pack in extreme conditions.
The main objective of WP2 is to define the thermal framework of the BP and check the behaviour and improvement due to the proposed heat exchanger when coupled to the BP. Most of the activity of this WP is focused on different thermal testing scenarios set-up and execution: just the BP, the BP with the current cooling system and finally, the BP with the innovative heat exchanger. It is an essential task since it is fundamental to check and adjust thermal simulations of other WPs and experimentally demonstrate the overall system efficiency improvement thanks to the i-HeCoBatt solution. It is remarkable that apart from the current thermal configuration with the addition of the heat exchanger, the results data analysis will be focused on forecasting and recommending the best system configurations for next-generation EVs.
3: Preliminary prototyping of the heat exchanger.
In this WP, the heat exchanger is developed, and a preliminary prototype (A-sample) is manufactured. Based on a new heat exchanger concept and the BP thermal needs resulting from the testing activity in WP2, a customized design is launched and then simulated. Once the simulation-redesign loop is successfully closed, the focus is a change to the manufacturing of the prototype and the integration of sensing functionalities. This preliminary approach has been tested to understand the pros and cons of the sensorised heat exchanger, match the launched simulations, and follow the optimization cycle towards the semi-industrial B-sample to be built in WP7.
4: Sensorization of the heat exchanger
The goal of WP4 is to define the best technology for each sensing case, build prototypes and test them. Different physical principles have been chosen to respond to the requested parameter measurement. Some phenomena such as temperature and humidity are a must and fundamental to cover the thermal system’s early diagnostic and safety goals.
Additional sensing capacity has been proposed and checked to see if they result in a competitive advantage for the product. Apart from the sensing functionality, the necessary HW for emitting and receiving the measured data is developed closely with the SW that manages these data.
5: Thermal strategy to reduce impact on vehicle range.
One of the main goals of the proposal is to reduce the impact of temperature on BP degradation. Hence, partners in this WP simulate the entire thermal system and fit the thermal management strategy to optimize the overall thermal behaviour. In order to set up the system, different parts (models) are necessary. The BP thermal model is achieved, starting from existing cell models, ancillary system elements (pump, chiller, etc.) modelled, and the heat exchanger model developed in WP3 implemented.
Hence, the whole system models are gathered and combined in a standard simulation environment. BP model is matched with experimental data of WP2, and ancillary models’ reliability is already proven, so this simulation activity runs in parallel with the heat exchanger design modelling activity and will feed it. The system is ruled by a thermal management system used to reach the defined overall efficiency goals.
6: SW tool for external diagnostic & safety and secure data-cloud management.
The goal of the team working on WP6 is to make accessible the data from sensors to the user. The user can be the designer, manufacturer, tester, maintenance workstation and even the final user (driver). Data access profiles must be customized in each case. Hence, part of the work is focused on the definition of the interface and the data shared between the sensorized heat exchanger and an external device (in this case, a tablet). This data sharing is made by allocating the data in the cloud and by creating the corresponding security firewalls and permissions according to the connected user.
This task is developed along with the project and applied to preliminary sensor prototypes first and then to the definitive sensors embedded in the thermal system onboard the EVs. Automotive quality will be pursued throughout the whole proposal, but special care is taken in this WP since the solution enters into the industrial phase that should fully fit the expected quality thresholds.
7: Industrialization of the proposed heating and cooling solution.
This WP concentrates the core of the eco-design, LCA and LCC approach that is applied in every WP in order to monitor the ongoing tasks in every WP. In this WP, all the procedures, parameters and roadmaps regarding a suitable approach in the previously mentioned sense are defined.
On the other hand, the industrialization of the products developed in previous stages is accomplished. The innovative heat exchanger jumps from A-sample type devices to virtual B-sample ones so that industrial tooling and means will be applied. In the same way, sensors are integrated into that industrial manufacturing workflow to get as closest as possible to a market product.
On the other hand, the industrialization of the products developed in previous stages will be accomplished. The innovative heat exchanger will jump from A-sample type devices to B-sample ones, so that industrial tooling and means will be applied. In the same way sensors will be integrated in that industrial manufacturing workflow in order to get as closest as possible to a market product.
8: In-car integration of the proposed heating and cooling solution.
Once the intelligent heat exchanger has been manufactured, the first step is to attach the new heat exchanger to the BP. Then it is integrated into the vehicle and connected to the ancillary devices and the rest of the system on board.
This process is accomplished for the A-sample and the virtual B-sample. The sensors and corresponding HW and SW are implemented onboard during the process. Once the system was ready, it was tested on a roller test bench and then on track. Data is acquired and analysed.
9: Dissemination, Communication and Exploitation.
WP9 consists of the multiple activities that ensure that i-HeCoBatt has an effective and efficient international exposure through appropriate dissemination measures. WP9 also ensures that the proposal results continue beyond the lifetime of i-HeCoBatt through sustained proposal exploitation. WP9 consists of the development of complete detailed dissemination and exploitation plan, the development of multiple dissemination and communication tools; participation in conferences and trade fairs to present the diversity of proposal results; the implementation of a proposal workshop and webinars; and the development of an exploitation plan and business plan.