Apart from frequent charge and discharge cycles, the other enemy of electric car batteries is heat. Electric batteries, as we all know, heat up quite quickly when under workload. The workload in case of electric car batteries is way too much, causing the batteries to heat up a lot. Researchers believe that overheating can deplete the service life of electric batteries by half. To solve the problems researchers at Fraunhofer have come up with a new phase-change material that promises to regulate the temperature of electric batteries in a much better way than conventional water cooling systems.
The new cooling material, called CryoSolplus, includes water, paraffin, stabilizing tensides and glycol anti-freeze. When the car is not being driven and the battery is cool, the paraffin is in the form of solid droplets. The tensides help keep the droplets evenly scattered throughout the mixture. As the solution heats up the car is being driven, the solution melts capturing excess heat in the process.
The material is circulated in pipes around the battery packs to carry away a major chunk of the heat generated. Once the car stops and the battery get cool, the mixture again solidifies and gets ready to repeat the process. The even dispersion of paraffin droplets ensures that the coolant is efficient in performing its job and can be stored for a long time without deteriorating.
Another benefit with the material is the reduced size of the coolant tank, since less liquid is needed within the cooling system. The reduced size also reduces the excess weight in the vehicle, making it more efficient. The research team believes that equipping an electric vehicle with the new material will only add about $100 to the cost of the vehicle, which can easily be recouped with more efficiency and better battery service life.