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Cooling for the future of elec­tro­mo­bility

Range and charging times are impor­tant para­me­ters for elec­tric vehi­cles. The storage and use of elec­tricity always gener­ates heat loss that must be dissi­pated. This means that the quick-charge station itself, its power elec­tronics, charging cable, and any buffer storage units that may be present need high-perfor­mance cooling concepts that can be easily inte­grated and operate reli­ably over a long period of time. Only with the right cooling capacity can the full charging capacity be used.

WHAT THE TECH?! Securing e-mobility with green energy?

Why is green energy the right way to go, for charging elec­tric cars?

Find the answer here: simple, under­stand­able and with a bit of humor!

Elec­tric mobility that relies on renew­able ener­gies is envi­ron­men­tally friendly: Wind, water, photo­voltaics and even green hydrogen are possible sustain­able sources. Charging stations and termi­nals of various sizes and capac­i­ties are the inter­face to the vehi­cles, i.e. cars, trucks and buses, and are often combined with battery storage systems to compen­sate for fluc­tu­a­tions and stabi­lize the grid. As the interest in elec­tric vehi­cles steadily increases, the avail­ability of quick-charge stations is a chal­lenge. To reduce charging time, the charging connec­tion power must be increased to several hundred kilo­watts depending on the appli­ca­tion. As a result, the thermal load on the elec­trical compo­nents in the systems increases signif­i­cantly.

Effi­cient heat dissi­pa­tion

To effi­ciently dissi­pate the heat loss and enable fast charging, controlled thermal manage­ment incor­po­rating different cooling solu­tions is required. The motor and fan special­ists at ebm-papst have taken a close look at this issue and can now offer suit­able solu­tions for the various cooling solu­tions related to elec­tric mobility. Compact fans in various designs for effi­cient and low-noise elec­tronics and switch cabinet cooling are just as much a part of this as powerful and intel­li­gent drives with inte­grated K4 control elec­tronics for the pumps, which are neces­sary for supplying the cooling circuits.

Fig. 1: Effi­cient ECI-63 pump drive for cooling charging cables. With vari­ants in the 180 to 370 W power range, the compact drive covers a wide range of appli­ca­tions. (Graphic | ebm-papst)

One example of this is the ECI-63.20-K4 internal rotor motor, which, thanks to its high power density, is typi­cally used as an effi­cient pump drive for cooling charging cables in the level 3 range with charging currents of up to 500 A (Fig. 1). With vari­ants in the 180 to 370 W power range, the compact drive covers a wide range of appli­ca­tions. However, speed-torque controlled external rotor motors from the VDC-49.15-K4 series are also ideal for cooling solu­tions, and addi­tion­ally enable users to make infer­ences about pres­sure and coolant flow, for example. This means that addi­tional sensors are not required in the appli­ca­tion, which has a posi­tive effect on the system control of the charging station.

Fans for every appli­ca­tion

Fig. 2: Effi­cient solu­tions for quick-charge stations. (Graphic | ebm-papst)

The inte­rior of a quick-charge station, its power elec­tronics and cooling circuits are usually cooled with air (Fig. 2). Several fans are gener­ally used for this, with axial, centrifugal, and diag­onal compact fans as possible options, depending on the require­ments. With sizes from 25 to 910 mm diam­eter and power ranges from 0.2 W to 4.6 kW, a suit­able solu­tion can be found for prac­ti­cally any appli­ca­tion in elec­tric mobility (Fig. 3).

Durable DC and Green­Tech EC motors are the driving force behind the fans. They operate at high effi­ciency levels, thereby making an active contri­bu­tion to saving resources. At the same time, their high effi­ciency keeps oper­ating costs low. Thanks to the motor tech­nolo­gies used and aero­dy­namic opti­miza­tions, the fans also run extremely quietly, which helps prevent the quick-charge stations from becoming a disrup­tive factor and allows them to blend in well with their surround­ings.

The drives’ excel­lent control char­ac­ter­is­tics ensure that demand-based oper­a­tion can be easily imple­mented. The high effi­ciency of the EC fans is main­tained, espe­cially in the partial load range – a clear advan­tage over conven­tional AC fans.

Fig. 3: Centrifugal, axial and diag­onal compact fans for a wide variety of cooling solu­tions relating to elec­tro­mo­bility. (Graphic | ebm-papst)

An impor­tant factor for cooling in quick-charge stations is their outdoor suit­ability. Even under harsh ambient condi­tions such as rain, fog, dust and salty sea air, temper­a­ture fluc­tu­a­tions and other weather-related influ­ences, the reli­able func­tioning of the fans must be guar­an­teed. This is why they are subjected to rigorous testing by the manu­fac­turer. Shock, vibra­tion and corro­sion tests are manda­tory, as are the Highly Accel­er­ated Life (HAL) test, temper­a­ture change control test, and EMC checks. In addi­tion, all fans have elec­trical over­voltage protec­tion.

Powerful cooling solu­tions for quick-charge stations

AxiEco and AxiForce series fans and have now been proven in a variety of elec­tric mobility appli­ca­tions. The AxiEco offers high perfor­mance and effi­ciency in a compact foot­print, allowing users to opti­mize the design of the final system. With a diam­eter of 200 mm, this fan delivers an air flow rate of 1,820 m³/h. (Fig. 4). The speed can be adapted to the required cooling capacity via a PWM or analog signal, and this also allows oper­ating noise to be reduced to a minimum. Appli­ca­tion-specific modi­fi­ca­tions can also be made easily, for example with regard to the strand length for the elec­trical hookup or the plugs.

Fig. 4: Air perfor­mance curve of the AxiEco axial fan in size 200: Depending on the oper­ating point, it can achieve an air flow rate of up to 1,820 m³/h. (Graphic | ebm-papst)

The AxiForce series fans are well suited for appli­ca­tions with high back pres­sure. They are avail­able in sizes 80, 120 and 172 mm and achieve pres­sures of up to 1,200 Pa. These fans have a steep air perfor­mance curve such as is required for cooling in densely packed quick-charge stations. Despite the high back pres­sures, air flow rates of up to 650 m³/h can be achieved, which can mean a signif­i­cant increase in perfor­mance for the appli­ca­tion.

Fig. 5: Fans often have to with­stand harsh ambient condi­tions and there­fore pass through various test stations before­hand, such as the salt spray test at ebm-papst. (Graphic | ebm-papst)

There is also a partic­u­larly envi­ron­men­tally resis­tant version with encap­su­lated elec­tronics that meets the require­ments of protec­tion class IP68 – in other words, it is dust­proof and protected against powerful water jets, and has also success­fully completed a thirty-day salt spray test (Fig. 5). The fans are option­ally avail­able with ATEX certi­fi­ca­tion. There are many other appli­ca­tions for these and similar compact fans – not only including the quick-charge stations them­selves, but also battery storage systems and switch cabinet cooling.

Discover more:

Cooling solu­tions for elec­tro­mo­bility

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