Development of Thick Film Electric Heaters for Thermal Modulation of Battery Systems

Project Lead:  René-Pierre Allard, NRCan - Ottawa
Lead Proponent:  Dana Canada Corporation
Location:  Oakville, ON
ecoEII Contribution:  $ 1,192,765
Project Total:  $ 1,703,950
Strategic Area:  Transportation


Lithium-ion batteries used in battery and hybrid electric vehicles must operate in a narrow temperature range to maintain efficiency, durability and reliability. To achieve such temperature control, the Proponent has developed novel battery coolers to manage excess heat generated during battery charging and discharging. However, battery function and durability is also significantly compromised in cold climate conditions such as those encountered during Canadian winters. Accordingly, there is a need for improved battery cooling heat exchangers that can also function as heaters, to improve battery system performance when operating at cold temperatures.

Project Objectives:

The objective of this project is to develop and integrate thick film electric heaters directly into battery cooling heat exchangers, which will improve the performance, reliability, and durability of the battery system of an electric vehicle when operating in low temperature conditions. The output is targeted to achieve modulated battery operation temperature from +5 °C to +40°C over the majority of the battery duty cycle. This means, under cold start conditions, to achieve a fast threshold heating rate of battery system while not adding significant space, weight or cost to the battery thermal management system. A preferred solution involves a sol gel thick film coating technology that can be applied directly to the surfaces of aluminum heat exchangers.

Benefits to Canada:

The outputs of this project will result in the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in proportion to the market adoption rate of electric and hybrid vehicles by improving the performance and lowering the cost of the battery’s thermal management, and enhance Canada’s role as a leader in clean technologies in the automotive sector.   As well the project will progress the development of HQPs and jobs creation within Canada; and directly contribute to Canada’s economic strength and competitiveness in the global electric vehicle market.

Project Status:

Early prototypes of battery cooling heat exchangers with integrated surface heaters have been made and evaluated. System requirement investigations and product design development is in progress.

Project Partners:

Datec Coating Corporation