Lithium–titanate batteries have become an attractive option for battery electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles. In order to maintain safe operating temperatures, these batteries must be actively cooled during operation. Liquid-cooled systems typically employed for this purpose are inefficient due to the parasitic power consumed by the on-board chiller unit and the coolant pump. A more efficient option would be to circulate ambient air through the battery bank and directly reject the heat to the ambient. We designed and fabricated such an air-cooled thermal management system employing metal-foam based heat exchanger plates for sufficient heat removal capacity. Experiments were conducted with Altairnano's 50 Ah cells over a range of charge-discharge cycle currents at two air flow rates. It was found that an airflow of 1100 mls −1 per cell restricts the temperature rise of the coolant air to less than 10 °C over ambient even for 200 A charge-discharge cycles. Furthermore, it was shown that the power required to drive the air through the heat exchanger was less than a conventional liquid-cooled thermal management system. The results indicate that air-cooled systems can be an effective and efficient method for the thermal management of automotive battery packs.
Journal of Power Sources – Elsevier
Published: Oct 15, 2012
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