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MagnetoCaloric Refrigeration for Efficient Electric Air Conditioning

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Total project cost
€4 262 900
EU Contribution
€2 833 925
Project website
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport electrification (ELT)
Vehicle design and manufacturing (VDM)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Call for proposal
Link to CORDIS
Background & Policy context

The proposal is focused on the development of an Efficient air-conditioning and heating system based on a Magneto Caloric heat pump and a new system architecture to fulfil the thermal comfort and energy requirements of Fully Electric Vehicles (FEVs).

A conventional vehicle uses the engine waste heat to assure the cabin heating and window de-icing and defogging requiring from 5 kW to 10 kW, while a mechanically driven (powered by the engine by means of a conveyor belt and pulley) vapour compression cycle guarantees the cabin cooling and dehumidification, absorbing up to 3 kW and generating up to 5 kW of cooling power.

On a FEV the available heat is limited and at low temperature (e.g.2-3 kW @ 40 °C) and to operate a conventional automotive air-conditioning (A/C) system a relevant amount of energy is required having a significant impact on vehicle autonomy.

For these reasons a specific approach and solution should be identified and adopted to guarantee heating and air conditioning on a FEV.

Within the ICE a new air-conditioning and heat pump system will be developed and prototyped based on a Magneto Caloric heat pump, on the redesign of the cabin air- conditioning and on efficient control strategies offering both high comfort and safety solutions (de-fogging and de-icing).


This project aims to develop an Innovative Efficient Air-Conditioning System for Electric Vehicles based on Magneto caloric refrigeration and to design a new thermal power distribution and microclimate control strategies.

The system is based on the Magneto Caloric refrigeration to realise an innovative automotive heat pump able to assure the on-board thermal comfort and on the integration of the on-board thermal systems to improve the thermal management and the overall vehicle energy efficiency.

The project has the following major objectives:

  • Efficient automotive electrical compact heat pump (COP > 5 in cooling mode) based on Magneto Caloric effect using high efficiency magnetic materials, smart design and specific micro channelled heat exchangers.
  • Redesign of the vehicle thermal systems to distribute locally the thermal power and to regulate the batteries and electronic temperature also in very hot climate
  • Microclimate control system based on thermal comfort and able to limit the thermal power generation only to the really required quantity and to adapt the system to the occupants’ number.
  • Sustainable Cost thanks to the innovative technical solutions that will be adopted to develop the heat pump, to the thermal systems resize and their integration

The project results will be validated and demonstrated realising a prototype system on a smallelectrical bus that will undergo a complete series of test, including range road test to verify the reliability and effectiveness of the system.

The project includes also a relevant dissemination and exploitation activity to promote the application of the ICE approach not only in the domain of Electrical Vehicles (passenger cars and buses) but also in the whole road transport domain as a standard air-conditioning system.

The technical work of the project is constituted of 7 Work Packages:

  • WP 1: System Concept
    WP leader: Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA), Strasbourg
    Start-End month: 1-33
  • WP 2: Refrigeration System Components Design and Realisation
    WP leader: Cooltech Applications SAS (COOLTECH), France
    Start-End month: 7-32
  • WP3: Refrigeration unit design and realisation
    WP leader: Cooltech Applications SAS (COOLTECH), France
    Start-End month: 7-32
  • WP4: Control algorithms development
    WP leader Centro Ricerche Fiat SCPA (CRF), Italy
    Start-End month: 4-21
  • WP5: On-board integration and validation
    WP leader: Altra SPA (ALTRA), Italy
    Start-End month: 16-42
  • WP6: Technological feasibility
    WP leader: Behr France Roufach SAS (BEHR), France
    Start-End month: 24-40
  • WP7: Dissemination
    WP leader: Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (UPVLC), Spain
    Start-End month: 1-42
  • WP8: Management
    WP leader: Centro Ricerche Fiat SCPA (CRF), Italy
    Start-End month: 1-42


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
The European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)
Specific funding programme


Magnetic cooling moves into electric vehicles

Consuming less energy and emitting no hazardous fluids, magnetic cooling is a promising new refrigeration technology. EU-funded scientists relied on magnetics to provide cooling to vehicles that run entirely on electricity.

A conventional vehicle typically uses the engine waste heat to run the cabin heating and a gas compression cycle for cooling and dehumidification. In electric vehicles, however, there is lack of available heat waste and the climate control system has a significant effect on energy consumption and mileage.

Heat pumps supplying cooling and heating capacity are a promising approach for improving energy consumption. Within (ICE) (Magnetocaloric refrigeration for efficient electric air conditioning), researchers developed an efficient air conditioning and heating system that is based on a magnet-based heat pump.

Relying on the magnetocaloric effect, the innovative automotive heat pump is a much more environmentally friendly option from standard gas compression forms of refrigeration. It also outperforms conventional chillers, reaching even double efficiency. Researchers targeted high-efficiency levels through suitable magnetic materials, smart design and micro-channelled heat exchangers.

A key task was to design a thermal power distribution system that provides local thermal comfort, while minimising energy demands. An integrated thermal system provides temperature control of all the on-board systems. Using the rejected heat as heat source for the magnetocaloric heat pump and the exceeding cooling power, the system keeps the battery temperature below the critical level.

The prototype system was successfully installed on a small electrical bus to test its reliability. With some further technology improvements, magnetocaloric air conditioners could represent a major breakthrough not only in the automotive sector but also in other industries.


Lead Organisation
Centro Ricerche Fiat - Societa Consortile Per Azioni
Strada Torino, 50, 10043 ORBASSANO (TO), Italy
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€735 875
Partner Organisations
Institut National Des Sciences Appliquees, Strasbourg
Boulevard De La Victoire 24, 67084 Strasbourg, France
EU Contribution
€387 250
Cooltech Applications Sas
Impasse Antoine Imbs 2, 67810 Holtzheim, France
EU Contribution
€655 550
Altra Spa
Via Adamoli Gelasio 237 F-G, 16138 Genova, Italy
EU Contribution
€364 000
Universitat Politecnica De Valencia
Camino De Vera S/n, 46022 Valencia, Spain
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€252 750
Behr France Rouffach Sas
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€438 500


Technology Theme
Refrigeration system for EVs
Development phase

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