EcoCar_High_Voltage
The undercarriage of the EcoCar3: "High Voltage"

Innovation Report: Cool Technology on Hot Wheels

The hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) realm is evolving in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Embry-Riddle. Recently, a group of student researchers, led by Dr. Sandra Boetcher and Dr. Marc Compere, developed a novel cooling technology to dissipate the tremendous heat produced by the batteries in today’s HEVs.  Auto manufacturers use a variety of technologies but none is both efficient and effective.

The ERAU design employs an aluminum casing to transfer heat from the batteries into a phase change material (PCM), a wax-like substance designed to absorb thermal energy. The battery cold plate also utilizes variable liquid cooling technology to prevent heat spikes which can be detrimental to the performance and longevity of the batteries.

With this invention, Embry-Riddle received 3rd place in the National Science Foundation Innovation Awards, as part of the EcoCar3 competition. The cold plate technology was built, tested and installed into a 2016 Camaro, the University’s entry into the EcoCar3 competition which is co-sponsored by General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy. Embry-Riddle has filed a U.S. patent application making the technology available for licensing and commercial production.

*This story was originally published in the InventER Annual Innovation Report 2016.

Download the full report. Learn more about tech transfer at ERAU. And visit the ERAU Innovation Facebook page.

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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit erau.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.