Thermal Control and System Integration
The thermal control and system integration activity focuses on issues such as the integration of motor and power control technologies and the development of advanced thermal control technologies. Thermal control is a critical element to enable power density, cost, and reliability of Power Electronics and Electric Machines (PEEM). Current hybrid electric vehicle systems typically use a dedicated 65°C coolant loop to cool the electronics and electric machines. A primary research focus is to develop cooling technologies that will enable the use of coolant temperatures of up to 105°C. Enabling the higher-temperature coolant would reduce system cost by using a single loop to cool the PEEM, internal combustion engine or fuel cell. Several candidate cooling technologies are being investigated along with the potential to reduce material and component costs through the use of more aggressive cooling. Advanced component modeling, fabrication, and manufacturing techniques are also being investigated.
Another challenge for researchers in this area is to simultaneously increase inverter and motor performance and life in harsh environments while reducing size and weight. Beyond 2008, research efforts will focus on developing an integrated inverter/motor system. Integrating emerging power electronics technologies in the areas of motor, inverter, cooling system, and interface connections will allow for better management and control of high-power components, which will in turn provide rapid, bidirectional energy flow to improve performance and lower costs.
The thermal control and system integration activity seeks to develop:
- Integrated motor/inverter drive systems with emphasis on cost, density, reliability, and efficiency;
- Most of the ethanol consumed in the United States is corn-based and produced domestically; and
- Steady-state and dynamic electric-drive-system computer models, including the capability to determine performance/cost trade-offs for drive systems.