Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Funding of 80 million USD for the Start-up Turntide

Robert Downey Junior
Robert Downey Junior

What do Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, the actor Robert Downey Jr., Hollywood star in the armour of Iron Man and Tony Fadell, father of the iPhone, have in common?
The trust with extreme conviction the Californian Turntide start-up, competing in the race of the electric motor development, and for this reason they have contributed in the relative funding that has reached 80 million dollars.
The design of Turntide motor, supposed to have 25% higher efficiency than the systems used today, dates back to 1838, but the production could start only recently due to the release of cheap microchips for computers.
«They have understood – stated Robert Downey Jr. – how to use a 19th century technology and to exploit the software to implement the potential it has always had».
The new electric motor can turn magnets on and off inside the motor 20,000 times per second, reducing the electricity consumption up to 30%.
The managing director of Turntide, Ryan Morris, has described the product as “software wound in metal “, which allows the company to control the necessary intellectual property to operate the motor.
Currently, Turntide is replacing old electric motors in large buildings’ ventilation systems: in 2020, it replaced 5,000 of these motors and aims at implementing 50,000 overall in the current year. The great goal is however making electric motors more efficient and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Testing of electric vehicles: the new centre of Emitech Group

Emitech Group has just bought the French technical centre of Vitesco Technologies situated in Osny town. This new test centre enhances testing performances of Emitech Group, especially the validation of all vehicle technologies and more specifically of its powertrain group.
With an electric power of 2×800 kVA, a laboratory environment taking up over 1000 sq. m. and an overall area of 6000 sq. m., Osny site is an ideal base for the development of batteries and electric motor activities inside the Group.
The structures host 3 test benches of motors, climatic chamber, roll test bench. This acquisition represents a starting point in the forefront testing course: Emitech Group is investing several million Euros to assure the development of testing structures to test batteries, electric motors and their electronic control systems, as well as hydrogen power supply technologies.
All these competences and the long expertise gained essentially address the automotive industry but they extend to all road vehicles, as well as railway, maritime, energy and aeronautical sectors.

Driver for 30%-smaller drive systems

The last overseas news regarding the new developments of the technology for electric motors concern Texas Instruments.
The multinational has recently presented a driver for brushless DC motor (BLDC) Degree 0, highly integrated, for the drive systems of high-power 48 V motors, such as traction inverters and starter motors /generator of mild hybrid electric vehicles (MHEV). What are its outstanding peculiarities?
DRV3255-Q1 can help designers in reducing the sizes of motor systems by even 30%, providing the highest gate drive current in the sector for better protection and higher output power. Complying with the most severe safety requisites, the new motor driver has been designed according to the development process of TI functional safety certified by TÜV SÜD and shares in reaching the integrity level of ASIL D automotive safety. Further information are available on the site www.ti.com/DRV3255-q1-pr-eu.
The reduction of the board footprint is possible up to 30%: DRV3255-Q1, driver for 48-V three-phase BLDC motor integrates the active high-side and low-side short circuit logic, which eliminates external transistors and the control logic. Through the active short circuit logic integration and the dynamic response to failures, the new motor driver allows designers not only to simplify their designs but also to supply up to 30 kW of motor power, so decreasing the board footprint and the cost in bill of materials for drive systems for 48-V motor.

Electric motors for a total propulsion power of 178 megawatts

The multinational ABB will supply the Italian manufacturer Fincantieri with a complete range of electric motors and of power systems for five cruise ships that will start operating astride 2023 and 2026. It is a job order amounting to 150 million dollars.
The contract propulsion systems are Azipod, systems that can reduce the fuel consumption by 20% versus standard motors, although the necessary electric energy to power them is anyway produced through combustion.
Each ship will be equipped with two twin Azipod units, so bringing the total propulsion power ordered for the new five constructions to 178 megawatts.
With the electric motor mounted in a submerged capsule outside the ship hull, Azipod system can rotate by 360 degrees, significantly increasing the operational manoeuvrability and efficiency of a ship and precisely reducing the fuel consumption by even 20% compared to standard systems.

Volvo invests in a new laboratory in Shanghai

Volvo Electric Site to provide model for sustainable construction in China

To design and to manufacture in-house electric motors for the next car generation, Volvo Cars has inaugurated in Shanghai, in China, a new laboratory precisely dedicated to electric propulsion systems. This structure, in operation since last month, joins the unit that constantly develops electric motors in Gothenburg, Sweden, and modern laboratories for batteries in China and Sweden.

«Through in-house design and development processes, we will be able to perfect our electric motors, reaching higher and higher qualitative levels. Constantly ameliorating the overall performance levels of propulsion systems in terms of energy efficiency and comfort, we create an electric drive experience that exclusively identifies Volvo brand» – stated Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer of Volvo Cars.

The laboratory activity will focus on the development of electric motors for applications in purely electric and hybrid cars based on the modular architecture for SPA 2 vehicles. The future of the brand is well outlined: the target is rising to 50% the share of fully electric models out of the total of global sales by 2025, with the remaining part constituted by hybrid models.

Good news about fast recharge

State-of-the-art columns for fast recharge, developed by Nidec ASI are ready. Some days ago, the Italian company delivered the University Federico II in Naples the first Ultra Fast Charger column for electric cars that minimizes the impact on the electric net, a test aimed at assessing the technology validity for the widespread diffusion on the territory under various conditions, also in compatibility with photovoltaic systems.

The Ultra Fast Charger is entrusted with the task of simplifying and speeding up the electrification process of infrastructures and of decreasing operational costs to recharge electric vehicles: the presence of 160 kWh internal batteries allows not drawing directly from the network, so avoiding power peaks and consequent blackouts. Despite an energy requirement of just 50 kW, it allows supplying the vehicle with 320 kW power, achieving 80% of the capacity in less than 15 minutes.

Electric Motors Efficiency needs better copper

A new manufacturing process yields highest conductivity copper composites at bulk scale. This is a discovery of researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL): they have increased the conductivity of copper wire by about five percent. Higher conductivity means that less copper is needed for the same efficiency, which can reduce the weight and volume of various components that are expected to power our future electric vehicles.

The laboratory teamed with General Motors to test out the souped-up copper wire for use in vehicle motor components. As part of a cost-shared research project, the team validated the increased conductivity and found that it also has higher ductility-the ability to stretch farther before it breaks. In other physical properties, it behaved just like regular copper so it can be welded and subjected to other mechanical stresses with no degradation of performance. This means that no specialized manufacturing methods are necessary to assemble motors-only the new advanced PNNL copper composite.

The technology can apply to any industry that uses copper to move electrical energy, including power transmission, electronics, wireless chargers, electric motors, generators, under-sea cables, and batteries.

General Motors Research and Development engineers verified the higher conductivity copper wire can be welded, brazed, and formed in exactly the same way as conventional copper wire. This indicates seamless integration with existing motor manufacturing processes.

«To further lightweight motors, advances in materials is the new paradigm – said Darrell Herling of PNNL’s Energy Processes and Materials Division. Higher conductivity copper could be a disruptive approach to lightweighting and/or increasing efficiency for any electric motor or wireless vehicle charging sytem».

Fast photovoltaic recharge for electric vehicles

Produktion der SMA EV Charger. Foto: Heiko Meyer

SMA, one of the top players in the field of system technologies for photovoltaic, has developed and made available the EV Charger platform, a solution to recharge electric vehicles by exploiting the photovoltaic current generated through solar energy. The system is directly integrated into the renewable energy plant, simplifying installation and maintenance processes.

SMA EV Charger allows recharging quickly, safely and conveniently thanks to its different functions, constantly aimed at the highest possible exploitation of the available solar energy. Through the combination of photovoltaic and net current, SMA EV Charger can operate at 7.4 kW, then with almost double speed compared to standard wallboxes and even ten-time faster than a typical domestic socket. Moreover, the protection against power outages safeguards the domestic connection from overloads.

The recharge process with SMA EV Charger can be planned with the app SMA Energy Sunny Home Manager 2.0, which programmes the recharge in the domestic energy management, taking other loads into account smartly, allowing the cost reduction and assuring the vehicle availability at the wished start time.

«The electric mobility becomes a really smart choice only with the solar energy. For this reason–Nick Morbach, Executive Vice President of the Home & Business Solutions unit of SMA, stated- we have developed SMA EV Charger. This device allows drivers of electric cars to carry out the recharge always comfortably and safely, exploiting the convenient photovoltaic current, with zero climatic impact, as much as possible. All SMA devices, provided by the same supplier, dialogue one another and therefore have a single reference partner for whatever question about extensions, warranties or service.


ABB excellence plant is starting up

They have started the construction works of the new plant at San Giovanni Valdarno, Arezzo, operational since the end of 2021. The structure will act as global excellence centre and manufacturing site for the entire range of recharge systems for direct current (DC) electric vehicles by ABB, from those for domestic use to those for installation in public areas and for urban public transport. A further growth for ABB in the electric mobility ambit, which uses household technologies. The factory will be in fact characterized by the integration of digital solutions by ABB AbilityTM that will allow complete visibility and the optimization of the production of each single product, making warehouse automated management systems interconnected with factory departments.

R&D activities will be carried out in a dedicated space, taking up 3,200 square metres, for development and prototyping. They will focus on the implementation of innovative solutions, new software and management instruments of the product lifecycle to integrate fully R&D activities with manufacturing activities, both in-house and with external electronic production services.

Meanwhile, the integration of renewable energy sources, like solar panels on the roof, an optimized heating and conditioning system and the introduction of a fleet of electric vehicles for workers, logistics, sales and service teams will contribute in reducing the environmental impact of the structure.


Investment for a low environmental impact battery plant in Poland

Global top player in sustainable technologies Johnson Matthey (JM), announced that its new battery materials facility in Konin, Poland, has received a combined €135 million investment from two leading development banks, in yet another boost for the commercialisation of eLNO and the electric car industry. eLNO is the portfolio of ultra-high energy density next generation cathode battery materials. These are expected to improve the performance of lithium ion batteries and help promote electric vehicle usage on a larger scale.
The production capacity in Konin will be 10,000 tonnes of eLNO per year, enough for around 100,000 fully electric vehicles. In addition, the site, which will start production in 2022, has the potential to expand tenfold through further investment. Construction of the plant began this year.
Johnson Matthey aims to create a low environmental impact battery supply chain, using renewable energy and sourcing raw materials – lithium, cobalt, nickel – from “ethical” mines.
«Construction of the new plant in Konin – said Christian Günther, Chief Executive, Battery Materials at Johnson Matthey – is a significant milestone in the commercialisation of our eLNO battery cathode materials. Supported by this funding, we plan to have eLNO in production on auto platforms by 2024, enabling the shift to electric vehicles and a cleaner, healthier world for us all».