Explaining the use and benefits of the Peltier Effect

The Peltier effect constitutes one of the cornerstones of the JOSPEL project, as it is used for cooling in the test vehicles, while at the same time helping to optimize the energy consumption and thus preserve battery power.

In the JOSPEL project, the Peltier effect is being applied in a number of ways. The primary use is for comfort purposes in the vehicle cabin, where the Peltier effect is used for cooling – like an aircondition system – but the polarity can also be reversed, so it can provide heating as well.

But the Peltier effect can also be used in the battery compartment, which is a new and very exciting area, as battery systems in electric vehicles require a lot of very careful temperature control in order to maximise the life of the batteries. Here, thermoelectric principles – as applied by the Peltier effect – provide an ideal way of pumping heat to and from the battery compartment, to enable the batteries to work in the most efficient way.

About the Peltier effect

What happens with the Peltier effect is that when  an  electric  current  flows  through  a  circuit  made  from  two different metals, heat is given off at the upper junction and absorbed at the lower. Essentially it means that a Peltier device is able to ‘move’ heat. A cooling  based on the Peltier effect offers a number of advantages compared  with  existing  systems. First of all, there are no moving parts in the Peltier devices, so they are very reliable, and they can also be made quite small, thus making them easy to place in e.g. a vehicle cabin.  Other advantages include improved fuel economy and reduced toxic and greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, Peltier devices can be devised to only cool the person, not the whole cabin, thus reducing the amount of energy needed for the cooling.

In the video below, Lead Mechanical Engineer, Tim Perry, from  European Thermodynamics explains how the JOSPEL project applies the Peltier effect – and what the benefits are.