Reaction Engines Applied Technologies develops innovative new battery thermal management system for EVs

The Cenex Show, the premier low carbon vehicle event in the UK, kicks off this week and Reaction Engines Applied Technologies will be showcasing a new innovation, the hxLIFE Foils – a brand new battery thermal management system which could revolutionise the EV market and potentially accelerate the uptake of electric cars through a range of significant performance benefits.

A step change in thermal management for EVs

EVs are powered by Lithium-Ion batteries which are highly impacted by temperature. From charge and discharge rates, health and capacity to overall lifespan, a robust battery thermal management system is key to the overall performance of EVs. Reaction Engines has developed a battery thermal management system (BTMS) unlike anything currently available; hxLIFE Foils are conformable guard foils which sit between battery cells and create isothermal performance across the entire battery pack.

hxLIFE Foils, as you might have guessed, is an acronym. The prefix “hx” is the familiar acronym for “heat exchanger”. “LIFE Foils” follows as lightweight isothermal flexible extraction foils” – something of a mouthful, but it does tell you everything you need to know about this cooling system. Essentially, the foils create an isothermal boundary between cells which reduces the thermal gradient to a minimum. They promote heat exchange between areas with highest temperature differences which leads to isothermal conditions. By reducing the thermal gradients across packs, they facilitate significantly faster charge and discharge rates, thereby increasing the operational performance and life of battery cells.

The foils are very flexible and conformable which allows them to be retrofitted into existing systems. They can be inserted into any existing EV battery pack without the need for a complex system redesign. A lightweight construction enables the increase of energy density across battery cell as opposed to more conventional, heavier systems.

Dr Yura Sevcenco is the engineering project lead behind hxLIFE Foils. He explained;

“One of the biggest barriers to the uptake of EVs, is the time it takes to obtain a full charge. Among other challenges lithium batteries quickly become plated during high rates of charge, with lack of tight thermal control an issue. By greatly reducing the thermal gradient across the entire battery pack, our isothermal cooling system will help overcome significant barriers in enabling a full charge in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee.”

The future

With the growth in interest in EVs and electric cars there is an increasing need for longer battery life and higher power output for manufacturers to gain a competitive edge in the market. Reaction Engines has developed a solution that truly addresses the key issues of battery thermal management and accommodates this need for increased life and power. These flexible, lightweight, isothermal foils offer significant advantages in performance over any other cooling systems currently available. The hxLIFE Foils are an exciting development in the EV industry and another positive example of how Reaction Engines Applied Technologies are able to adapt thermal management technology developed under the SABRE programme for commercial sectors.

Applied Technologies are exhibiting at Cenex-LCV on 18th and 19th November. If you would like to register to attend this virtual event, click here