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New technologies for the electric car

The CSIC’s Instituto de Microelectrónica in Barcelona has participated in the Project Cenit Verde, a project focused on the development of technologies to facilitate the implementation of the electric car in Spain. Scientists at the CSIC have contributed to obtaining an alternative cooling system for the car power modules.

 

Cenit Verde project participants.A prototype, a plug-in hybrid car called Seat León Verde, connected to a recharge intelligent system and with novelties that give the car better performance and an electric autonomy of 50 kilometers with a 8,8 kWh battery. This is the result of the project CENIT Cerde, led by the Seat Technical Centre and funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.  More than 800 scientists and technicians from 30 centres have been involved in the Project.

Scientists at the CSIC’s  Instituto de Microelectrónica in Barcelona (National Centre of Microelectronics) have participated in the project, specifically in the development of the car  electric power modules.

Xavier Jorda, a scientist at the CSIC, explains: “the company Lear, that has developed the charger on the new prototype, asked us to investigate an alternative solution for refrigerating the power modules.

Prototype of the power module. These devices are the core of all the circuits in charge of controlling the electric energy,  such as a battery charger does, and they are characterized by dissipating a lot of heat. Therefore it is necessary to have a suitable thermic control”.

The team led by Xavier Jordà, working together with the Technological Centre LEITAT, proposed a new design based on the use of Peltier cells integrated within the power module.

The new design is totally static, which gives robustness to the system compared to traditional designs

“When these thermo-electric cells are connected they fix a heat flux and allow the heat to be released from the module. But, interestingly, the cells enable also a more sophisticated thermic control  than conventional solutions: they allow not only refrigeration of the power module but also heating, which can be useful for cold countries, where cars have to move at temperatures many grades below zero”, explains Xavier Jordà.

The new design is totally static, which gives robustness to the system compared to traditional designs.  As an advantage, it has no risk of leaks – which could happen in the liquid-cooling systems- and no risk of small mobile pieces breaking  – which could happen in systems based on fans.

The team led by Xavier Jordà belongs to the Group of Devices and Power systems of the IMB-CNM. Their work is focused on the development of innovative integration technologies for the power devices, in order to facilitate the development of systems with reduced energy consumption.

Cenit Verde: http://www.cenitverde.es/