Effective thermal management is key to the efficiency and durability of many automotive technologies: batteries, power electronics, base engine. The drive to improve vehicle efficiency, to reduce CO2 emissions from internal combustion engine powered vehicles or extend the range of battery or fuel cell vehicles, means that this technology area is of increasing importance. The University of Bath and IAAPS were delighted to welcome delegates from industry and academia to attend this APC workshop (the first one of its kind to be hosted at the University of Bath), which presented leading edge thermal management Research and Development applied to a range of technology areas, alongside sessions to support the development of new collaborations between the APC spoke universities.

APC and the University

IAAPS at the University of Bath is one of six spokes of The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), specialising in TPS System Efficiency. The APC began in 2013 through the Automotive Council to place the UK as a global centre of excellence for low and zero carbon powertrain research, development and production. Their job is to ensure the UK remains competitive in the research, development and production of low carbon automotive technologies, anchoring and growing UK capabilities. The organisation aims to save 50 million tonnes of CO2, safeguard or create 30,000 jobs in the UK and make £1 billion of match funding, committed by industry and government, available to research and develop low carbon automotive technologies in the UK.

To date, the APC’s 13 competitions represent £886 million investment across 51 projects made up of 178 organisations in consortia partnerships, safeguarding or creating a potential 36,000 jobs in the UK, saving a potential 157 million tonnes CO2. This is the equivalent of removing 8.8 million cars off the road.

“The APC are helping to build specialist communities that stretch the boundaries of academic and industrial relationships; expanding advanced and industrial research around low carbon automotive technology.

One of the real positive actions of these networks is the work that they are doing through collaboration. These activities are bringing engineers from both academia and industry together. Taking experts with a wealth of knowledge in engine technologies to partner with those at the forefront of developing solutions delivering the future electrification agenda.

The collaborative spoke activity is not there to drive competitive behaviours but to be complementary making sure that our R&D communities are aligned to support the ever growing demands from UK industry in terms of developing engineers with the right skills.”

-Philippa Oldham, APC

Thermal Management Workshop

The event on 5th November began with an introduction by Professor Chris Brace where he discussed the APC spokes and the roles they play in contributing to the “Road to Zero”. He outlined the research the University of Bath have delivered regarding thermal management, as well as giving an overview of the challenges we face in this area.

Prize fellow from the University of Bath, Dr Zhongze Wu then gave a technical presentation where he provided the results of his recent experimentation on a lumped capacitance thermal model of an axial flux permanent magnet machine.

This was followed by Stene Charmer from Warwick Manufacturing Group (Electrical Energy Storage Spoke) who gave an overview of WMG and their facilities. He then gave a presentation on thermal management challenges for batteries and storage. He shared interesting insights into the potential future direction of the industry, suggesting OEMs may take more responsibility for their own cell design and production in future.

Dr Rafal Wrobel from the University of Newcastle (Electric Machines Spoke) then presented about heat removal in high-specific-output, high-efficiency electrical machines, and highlighted that in future electrical machines will require a multi-disciplinary approach to solve these design problems.

In the afternoon, delegates saw presentations by Marco Bernagozzi and Marco Marengo from the University of Brighton (TPS Thermal Efficiency Spoke). Marco Bernagozzi, a research student, gave an overview of the main passive thermal management technologies, along with some applications in terms of automotive thermal management. This was followed by an in-depth look at a specific new passive thermal device (The Pulsating Heat Pipes, or Oscillating Heat Pipes).

Q&A sessions following each talk gave attendees the opportunity to ask specific questions to delve a little deeper into the presenters’ specialisms. At the end of the day the cohort was split into groups, where they workshopped ideas based around relevant themes of their choosing, which may potentially lead to future thermal management research proposals and collaborations

The day successfully covered a variety of topics both high level and in detail regarding existing challenges within thermal management, and also looked towards the future and potential applications of new and existing technologies to solve these problems. As one delegate reflected:

“I would like to say how useful and informative the workshop was yesterday - definitely worth the trip. Many thanks to all the presenters for the excellent presentations.”

-Martin Timmins, Denso Marston LTD