Promising results as JOSPEL enters final phase

Nearly three years ago, the JOSPEL project first set out to develop a novel, energy efficient climate system for electric vehicles based on the thermoelectric Joule and Peltier effect. Since then, our partners have worked hard on developing and testing the system, and with little more than six months left of the project, we want to offer a more in-depth look at some of the results, benefits and potentials of the system.

Compared to ordinary vehicles, electric vehicles require special thermal management solutions because their motors and batteries don’t generate heat in the same way as internal combustion engines. Today, the use of ‘ordinary’ HVAC technologies (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) reduce the potential range of electric vehicles with up to 25% – consequently, innovation is required.

With this challenge in mind, the JOSPEL project set out to develop a brand new and energy efficient air conditioning system that would optimize interior temperature control management in electrical vehicles using an integrated approach that combines a number of innovative technologies and applications. Based on the thermoelectric Joule and Peltier effects, the system includes an efficient insulation of the vehicle cabin, energy recovery from heat zones, increased battery life as a result of thermal management, reduced battery consumption using Peltier cooling, electronic control of power flows, and last but not least automated eco-driving strategies. With the joint forces of these applications, the project aims at reducing the energy used for passenger comfort with at least 50% and the energy used for component cooling in extreme conditions with at least 30% when comparing to electric vehicles that are on the market today.

Unique applications offer numerous benefits

  • A heating system based on the Joule effect in thermoplastic sheets or thermoset coating is able to reduce energy consumption with at least 30%compared to current PTC heaters, and a cooling systembased on Peltier cells can reduce the energy consumption with at least 25%compared to current EV heat pumps.
  • With PMMA sheets, the insulation properties will be improved by at least 15%compared to current glassing windows.
  • By developing model-based control strategies to operate the battery pack and the cooling system, the energy consumption of the battery system will be reduced by 12%and the lifetime of the battery will be increased by 15%. The approach is based on electrical and thermal models as well as aging models developed in JOSPEL, but the models are in designed to be implemented in any given energy or battery management hardware.
  • Full integration of communication devices and networks in the vehicle will lead to a 6%reduction of the EV electrical consumption.
  • Compared to current systems, the proposed heating and cooling system will result in cost reductions of at least 30%if you take both systems into account.
  • The different heating and cooling systems will lead to a weight reduction of 17 kilo, and the use of PMMA sheets instead of glassing windows will reduce the weight with an additional 7 kilo, resulting in a total weight reduction of 24 kg per car. In addition to significantly reducing CO2emissions, this weight reduction helps reduce the energy consumption with 0.3 kWh per 100 km.
  • By constructing a fully monitored “Demo lab”with real users, it is possible to validate the user experience of heating and cooling in the test vehicles.

Impacting the EV industry – and society

After the completion of the JOSPEL project, a new set of heating and cooling systems based the Joule and Peltier effects will be available for immediate adoption by the EV industry along with lighter and more efficient batteries, PMMA glazing with improved isolation, energy harvesting and defrosting modules and systems, and improved ICT communication. The possibility of market adoption has been ensured by the integration of project-developed materials, modules and systems in two electric vehicles that have been tested under realistic conditions in a demo lab. In addition, a comprehensive business plan accompanied by LCA and LCC analyses and a communication Plan will help facilitate market adoption. The holistic energy management approach set forward by JOSPEL will allow for a 50% reduction of the energy consumption related to passenger comfort systems, thus extending the life of the battery with 15%.

On a societal level, we are seeing an increased consumer demand for green transportation solutions – especially for road transportation – which was demonstrated by the 100% increase in EV sales worldwide from 2012 to 2013. As listed above, the technologies and results from JOSPEL will help improve the efficiency of electric vehicles and thus extend their range, which will help break down one of the major barriers for a wider market introduction. Taking this though a step further, increased EV sales will result in reduced CO2emissions, lower fossil fuel consumption, and economic and environmental savings that will consequently lead to a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable society.

Improving EU industry competitiveness
In addition to the benefits listed above, JOSPEL will also help improve the competitiveness of EU industry and generate knowledge to ensure the transformation from a resource-intensive to a knowledge-intensive base. This is done by bringing together science(three applied research centres) and industry(seven SME partners and three large companies) to exploit new emerging research opportunities in the field of heating and cooling, isolation and communication systems for electric vehicles and their related material processing, as well as to ensure the appropriate dissemination and exploitation of R&D results to SMEs.

Promising results so far
During the project meeting in November 2017, JOSPEL solved the assembly of the different technologies in the two demonstrator vehicles manufactured by ALKE (Italy) and DOK-ING (Croatia), and at this point, the project has achieved the following improvements with regards to energy reduction:

  • Heating system based on Joule Effect – 30 % reduction
  • Cooling system based on Peltier cells – 25% reduction
  • Battery consumption due to optimized thermal management – 12% reduction
  • Thermal management of other EV components and eco-driving technologies – 12% reduction
  • Reduced weight and improved insulation of the cabin – 12% reduction

As can be seen, the first results measured are promising. Towards the end of the project – in October 2018 – JOSPEL will organize a final event at project partner CTAG’s facilities in Vigo, Spain in order to present the final results. The event will also present an opportunity to see the final demonstrator with all the developed technologies.

Now, the JOSPEL consortium is entering the last six months of the project, and the exploitation plan is currently being defined, but already at this stage the project has received potential interest from stakeholders in the plastic, automotive and energy sector.