Researchers at Fraunhofer LBF have designed a battery system that can use thermal energy as a heat source. This should increase the range of electric vehicles especially at low outside temperatures.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF has developed a traction battery with thermal storage capacity, as part of the EU's Optemus (Optimised Energy Management and Use) project. A new type of fibre-reinforced composite sandwich housing has been designed to protect the battery from temperature fluctuations. The phase change material composite system should be capable of both preconditioning the battery at low outside temperatures and reducing heat generation during rapid charging.
The thermally insulating battery housing consists of injection-moulded polymer integral foam locally reinforced with high-strength thermoplastic fibre-reinforced composites using a hybrid process. According to Fraunhofer researchers, the concept is highly promising for lightweight construction and is suitable for large-scale production applications. "We've developed material, structural and process technologies that can guarantee drivers a more reliable and uniform range for their battery-powered vehicles", says Felix Weidmann, project manager at Fraunhofer LBF.