Lithium-ion batteries used in battery and hybrid electric vehicles must operate in a narrow temperature range to maintain efficiency, durability, and reliability. Therefore, innovative new products and related manufacturing process technologies are needed to achieve improved battery temperature control and enable market adoption of battery and hybrid-electric vehicles. To accomplish this, the Federal Government of Canada through its ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII) that supports advanced clean technology innovations; has awarded Dana PTG, Thermal Products a total of CDN$2.112 Mio to accelerate two of its strategic R&D projects for battery thermal management application.
The first project entitled “Improved Fluxless Aluminium Brazing Materials and Process Technology for Manufacturing of Advanced Battery Cooling Heat Exchanger” was awarded CDN$1.269 Mio to improve the constituent technologies involved in our proprietary fluxless aluminum brazing process. In collaboration with the University of Waterloo and University of Dalhousie, an improved pilot aluminum fluxless brazing process with improved braze performance, environmental and cost efficiencies was developed Commercialization of this improved process is underway for use in the manufacture of next-generation battery thermal management, as well as, and other heat exchanger products.
The second project entitled “Development of Thick Film Electric Heaters for Thermal Modulation of Battery Systems” was awarded $843K to develop and integrate sol gel thick film heaters directly onto battery cooling heat exchangers. In collaboration with Datec Coatings Corporation, a developer of composite sol gel thick film heaters based in Ontario, high performing and durable battery cooling customer demonstration prototypes with heating capabilities were developed. This new product offering not only manages excess heat generated during battery charging and discharging, but also function as heaters to improve the battery performance when operating at cold temperatures
The above projects are managed and lead by Dana PTG Oakville Technical Center in ON Canada. The center’s 85+ technical employees develop new products and processes, and support plant launches of multiple heat exchanger products for: electric vehicles (battery and power electronics coolers for GM Volt, Fiat 500, Ford Focus, BMW 303, Mini, Volvo) and internal combustion engine vehicles (transmission and oil coolers, active warmup units, charge air coolers, flow control valves for Ford, GM, FCA, BMW, VW). The main technical differentiator of Dana’s thermal products is the proprietary flux-less braze process, a clean technology developed by our Oakville R&D group.