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 As the government steps up its policy on fossil fuels in cars, Graham Fraser, Managing Director of Fraser Technologies, discusses the future of the electric car and the challenges involved in battery power. 

At the launch event for COP26 a few weeks ago, Boris Johnson announced a change in government policy on the use of fossil fuels in cars, bringing forward a ban on selling new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars from 2040 to 2035. 

Environmental experts have welcomed the improved target, but the new legislation has caused controversy amongst the automotive manufacturing industry, which argues that the UK is unprepared for electronic alternatives in this time frame. The theory is that 60% of the market will be electric by 2030, compared with just 1% now, which certainly sets the bar high. 

Nevertheless, environmental legislation is a primary driver in the industry, with the electric car industry investing significantly in R&D technology to allow them to travel further, charge faster and last longer. 

For electric cars to become commercially attractive, the industry is considering a target of 10 minutes for 80% charge on the battery. The main objective is better reliability and safety so drivers can reach their destination without an issue. As innovative technology emerges in this field, new challenges become evident. One major hurdle for lithium ion battery technology is dealing with the high heat load generated during charge transfer in this brief time. 

With this increased heat, it becomes paramount to improve long-term performance and reduce the fire risk in the battery packs. The key is developing an efficient thermal management solution which mitigates fire potential and improves heat transfer. 

At Fraser Technologies, we work closely with Chemours, which has developed Opteon™ Speciality Fluids with performance and environmental sustainability in mind. The Opteon™ product portfolio includes heat transfer fluids for many different applications and temperatures ranging from -90°C to 250°C. These Opteon™ SF heat transfer fluids are non-flammable, offer excellent stability and provide superior heat removal in dielectric applications, with an environmentally friendly footprint. 

The fastest and most effective way to cool a battery is direct fluid contact with a dielectric fluid, known as immersion. These fluids can be either be used as single phase, pumped much like current heat exchanger systems, or employed as a simple two-phase system with condensing and evaporation. Immersion cooling using Opeteon™ SF fluids answers the need for a safe battery; it provides the most efficient heat transfer using non-conductive and non-flammable fluids while also enhancing safety. Alternative liquids, such as PAO oils and silicone-based fluids are potential candidates, but the Chemours Opteon™ SF products provide up to 30% higher heat removal performance in a single-phase system. This offers a much more efficient heat transfer process as the coolant gets closer to the heart of the heat. Additionally, by using two-phased immersion cooling systems, the latent heat during phase change is significantly larger than liquid thermal conductivity and thus provides a more uniform temperature across the entire battery pack. 

We work with a number of well-known automotive manufacturers to ensure that their systems are efficient, utilising Chemours Opteon™ Speciality Fluids in a variety of applications, including component cleanliness, lubrication and carrier fluid, as well as the cleaning and cooling of EV batteries. We appreciate that not only is the health and safety of the battery itself crucial, but also, as electric vehicles must continue to become lighter and faster and with more range, anything that brings additional space or weight is not an option. The Chemours Opteon™ Speciality Fluids solutions benefit from a small footprint and are lightweight compared with oil-based solutions. And, as the energy density is increased with this form of thermal management solution, less liquid – and so less weight – is required. 

As the automotive industry works hard to improve the electric vehicle offering, every element of the car will need to be considered, with battery challenges on top of the list. But, with innovation appearing throughout the supply chain and a steep target to meet, we will all have a major part to play in the future of electric vehicles. 

Fraser Technologies are proud to have supported the cleaning industry for last 50 years, working closely with their customers to understand their challenges and their expertise to offer best-in-class cleaning solutions. From component cleaning, electronics soldering, and heat transfer & carrier fluids they have built their expertise over the last 50 years and still continue to offer technological advances, adapt to legislative changes and embrace environmental challenges.

Fraser Technologies are well known for being considered one of the leaders within the Precision Cleaning industry and offer a wide range of new generation chemistries coupled with both solvent and aqueous cleaning systems. They can help extend the life of existing processes and equipment, recommend and install new equipment, or look at how best to improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact. This is all achieved through their superior trial and demonstration facilities and first class after sales service.

Companies from the aerospace & defence, electronics, medical, optics and automotive industries have chosen to work with them because of their expert knowledge in their industries, their independent range of products, and their can-do tried and tested approach to ensuring they provide access to the latest technologies – improving performance, productivity, environmental performance and operator safety.

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