Improved Safety for Automotive Lithium Batteries: An Innovative Approach to include an Emergency Cooling Element


This paper describes a concept for an independent and redundant safety concept for Lithium batteries in Electric and Hybrid Electric Vehicles. This concept includes an emergency cooling system based on pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2). Since carbon dioxide (CO2) is a possible medium of future mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems, the MAC system can be utilized for the one-time emergency cooling described in this paper. In the first part of the paper, some major safety aspects of automotive Li batteries are highlighted. In the second section, the paper describes a technical approach, how these batteries can be made safer. Pressurized CO2, which is a promising candidate for cooling liquids used in future mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems, is used to effectively cool down an overheating or up-heating battery in a critical state. The safety system thereby is not based on an electrical effect, but on a direct and fast-reacting thermal conduction, avoiding a thermal runaway of individual cells. The application of the proposed system is to act preventively just before the thermal runaway gets uncontrollable. In this case, the limited amount of CO2, which is available in the MAC system, fulfils the emergency cooling requirements. The combination of standard car components for the concept leads to an only moderate increase of the total weight and the additional system costs. Therefore, the described system might be of interest for car, battery and air conditioning system producers. This paper explains that the synergetic combination of CO2-based MAC systems and Li-based batteries is an innovative approach to improve environmental compatibility in future vehicles. The concept is proven experimentally on a lab scale with battery cells and battery packs consisting of four serially connected cells, respectively.

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Kritzer, P. , Döring, H. and Emermacher, B. (2014) Improved Safety for Automotive Lithium Batteries: An Innovative Approach to include an Emergency Cooling Element. Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science, 4, 197-207. doi: 10.4236/aces.2014.42023.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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