A team of researchers of the University of Birmingham is working at the e-Thermal bank, a thermo-chemical system based on microwaves for the climate control of electric vehicles that might extend by even 70% the vehicle’s range.
The system operates as a secondary energy source inside the vehicle, discharging Hvac tasks from the battery and so increasing the autonomy. It acts by coupling a chemical heat pump with the energy of microwaves, supplying heating or conditioning to the cabin on demand, with a higher energy density than battery packs. The microwave energy dissociates a working pair of solid vapour and condenses the vapour into liquid. This charge process stores energy inside the car, inside the e-Thermal bank.
According to researchers, the thermochemical system has a high density of 1600Wh/Kg. On the contrary, the record density for lithium-ion batteries is around 700 Wh/Kg.
“The heating and the cooling of the electric vehicle’s passenger compartment need a notable energy and contribute more significantly in the reduction of the electric vehicle’s range”, affirmed professor Yongliang Li, research manager and holder of the chair of Thermal Energy Engineering at the School of Chemical Engineering in Birmingham.
“We expect that, replacing the conventional Hvac and possibly a small part of the battery pack, e-Thermal banks would provide an efficient control of the cabin’s temperature and a range extension up to 70%, at a lower cost compared to the increase of the battery’s capacity”.