Barriers to the Application of High-Temperature Coolants in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

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This study was performed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to identify practical approaches, technical barriers, and cost impacts to achieving high-temperature coolant operation for certain traction drive subassemblies and components of hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). HEVs are unique in their need for the cooling of certain dedicated-traction drive subassemblies/components that include the electric motor(s), generators(s), inverter, dc converter (where applicable), and dc-link capacitors. The new coolant system under study would abandon the dedicated 65 C coolant loop, such as used in the Prius, and instead rely on the 105 C engine cooling loop. This assessment is important because ... continued below

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Staunton, Robert H; Hsu, John S & Starke, Michael R September 1, 2006.

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Description

This study was performed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to identify practical approaches, technical barriers, and cost impacts to achieving high-temperature coolant operation for certain traction drive subassemblies and components of hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). HEVs are unique in their need for the cooling of certain dedicated-traction drive subassemblies/components that include the electric motor(s), generators(s), inverter, dc converter (where applicable), and dc-link capacitors. The new coolant system under study would abandon the dedicated 65 C coolant loop, such as used in the Prius, and instead rely on the 105 C engine cooling loop. This assessment is important because automotive manufacturers are interested in utilizing the existing water/glycol engine cooling loop to cool the HEV subassemblies in order to eliminate an additional coolant loop with its associated reliability, space, and cost requirements. In addition, the cooling of power electronic devices, traction motors, and generators is critical in meeting the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technology (FCVT) goals for power rating, volume, weight, efficiency, reliability, and cost. All of these have been addressed in this study. Because there is high interest by the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in reducing manufacturing cost to enhance their competitive standing, the approach taken in this analysis was designed to be a positive 'can-do' approach that would be most successful in demonstrating the potential or opportunity of relying entirely on a high-temperature coolant system. Nevertheless, it proved to be clearly evident that a few formidable technical and cost barriers exist and no effective approach for mitigating the barriers was evident in the near term. Based on comprehensive thermal tests of the Prius reported by ORNL in 2005 [1], the continuous ratings at base speed (1200 rpm) with different coolant temperatures were projected from test data at 900 rpm. They are approximately 15 kW with 103 C coolant and 20 kW with 50 C coolant. To avoid this 25% drop1 in continuous power, design changes for improved heat dissipation and carefully managed changes in allowable thermal limits would be required in the hybrid subsystems. This study is designed to identify the technical barriers that potentially exist in moving to a high-temperature cooling loop prior to addressing the actual detailed design. For operation at a significantly higher coolant temperature, there were component-level issues that had to be addressed in this study. These issues generally pertained to the cost and reliability of existing or near-term components that would be suitable for use with the 105 C coolant. The assessed components include power electronic devices/modules such as diodes and insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), inverter-grade high-temperature capacitors, permanent magnets (PM), and motor-grade wire insulation. The need for potentially modifying/resizing subassemblies such as inverters, motors, and heat exchangers was also addressed in the study. In order to obtain pertinent information to assist ORNL researchers address the thermal issues at the component, module, subassembly, and system levels, pre-existing laboratory test data conducted at varying temperatures was analyzed in conjunction with information obtained from technical literature searches and industry sources.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2006/514
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/974604 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 974604
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc925737

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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Creation Date

  • September 1, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Nov. 21, 2016, 6:34 p.m.

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Staunton, Robert H; Hsu, John S & Starke, Michael R. Barriers to the Application of High-Temperature Coolants in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, report, September 1, 2006; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc925737/: accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.