Thermal Management: a hot topic

Battery manufacturers are increasingly tasked with evolving thermal management processes as requirements shift in the face of wider battery application in growing markets – an area covered in full, from challenges to opportunities, at The Battery Show Conference

Thermal management is one of the hottest topics in the industry at present – excuse the pun – if the billions that are invested in developing thermal management technologies for the mobility market are anything to go by. Christophe Santos, application engineer at Lord, says the market for thermal management solutions is driven by the “increased competition in the EV space, leading to higher cost pressure and, at the same time, higher expectations for performance in areas such as thermal conductivity, power density and weight reduction. As EVs become more prevalent, we anticipate continued innovation in thermal management solutions, such as a shift away from thermal pads to gap fillers.”

Thermal Management Indeed, technologies such as passive insulation, cooling or heat exchangers, as well as simulation tools to predict thermal behaviour are critical tools in battery manufacturing as the industry is pushing for high-performance, safe batteries. A failure caused by thermal runaway during operation or fast charging could cause significant malfunction or, worst, put the battery pack and car on fire.

However, choosing the right solution is not just about balancing these requirements. “It is key to select a material which fits the thermal needs but also consider handling, production and rework ability requirements,” says Holger Schuh, business development manager for thermal interface materials at Henkel. “There are several CTQ (critical to quality) to consider as cooling plates and systems for battery packs represent an order of magnitude increase in surface area and heat duty when compared to traditional automotive electronics. Depending of the type of xEV car (PHEV, HEV or BEV), there are a wide variety of challenges to be answered, including processability and working conditions of the thermal management solution.”

The process is further complicated by the wide variety of solutions on the market. “The development of cost-efficient cooling and heating methods for battery pack has led to different solutions among all OEMs,” says Paul McGahan, technical specialist at Ricardo Innovations. “As a result, the market of thermal management components has increased a lot in the context of vehicle electrification. There is not one only solution for maintaining the temperature of the battery cells.”

So, with a wide variety of solutions available and the complexities and unique requirements of the application and production line to bear in mind, it is not surprising that thermal management in battery design is a real challenge for many battery manufacturers and OEMs. In addition, new technologies such as fast charging will continue to raise the bar for battery performance, posing new thermal challenges. We see this also at The Battery Show Headquarters, where thermal management is consistently one of the most popular sessions at the conference, and in the sheer amount of papers we receive.

As such we are excited to be able to offer our visitors an expanded programme on thermal management at the show this year, featuring a webinar, pre-conference workshop and conference sessions dedicated to the subject! For a full list of features see below, and don’t forget to register to get the most out of this unique opportunity.

Thermal management technology at The Battery Show Europe:

Free webinar: Thursday 11 April 2019 - 15:00 CEST, 'Improving Energy Density, Lifespan and Affordability of EV Components Through Thermal Management Materials' - Sponsored by LORD Corporation

Pre-Conference Workshop on 6 May: Specifying Thermal Management Solutions to Optimise Battery Safety and Performance - Sponsored by Henkel

Conference session on 7 May: Preventing Thermal Runaway Through Improving Thermal Management in Battery Pack Design - Sponsored by LORD Corporation

Product Showcase: ‘Cure in place thermal management solutions for EV batteries’, 3M, Tuesday 07 May, 12:30 at Stand 1113

Product Showcase: ‘Conductive liquid gap filler and the processing for efficient assembly’, Henkel, Wednesday 08 May, 13:30 at Stand 1025