Air conditioning inside vehicles is an important factor for save and convenient driving due to comfortable and dry interior climate. The air conditioning system, on the other side, is the most important auxiliary energy user and in electric vehicles, the additional demand for the heating and cooling system can result in a reduction of operation range by 30%. This may be one reason for low consumer acceptance of these vehicles. Sorption processes (utilizing zeolite and salt hydrates) are able to provide an innovative method for heating, cooling and de-humidification in vehicles:
- Humidification of a sorbent in a fixed bed reaction provides heat (condensation enthalpy and binding energy) at reasonable temperature, high power density is possible.
- Humidification of a sorbent in a closed vessel leads to temperature reduction of the sorptive (by extracting evaporation enthalpy). This effect is used for desiccant cooling systems.
Utilization of this innovative technology can make possible a traction battery-independent and comparably cheap solution for the cabin conditioning in electric driven vehicles. Sorption materials show comparable specific energy storage densities (of heat) than rechargeable lithium cells, but costs are lower by factor 20. Therefore conversion of electrical energy to heat should be strictly avoided to save traction battery capacity.
For establishing of a new development line together with industrial partners, the project consortium of FH OÖ/ASiC, ViF and IWI are applying for a research project for demonstration of the usability of the sorption technology, and to find industrial partners for cooperative industrial research.
Aim of the project is to investigate the market potential of the technology, identifying project partners, and to work out the applicability of the technology to electric vehicles. With the aim of already existing experimental reactor vessels, constructed in 'near to reality size and shape the power density and temperature development will be demonstrated with suitable sorptive pairs of materials (zeolites, salt hydrates, and ethanol-water mixtures). These data will be compared to results of simulation works where the heating and cooling requirements during operation of electrical driven cars (with additional measures like optimal insulation, coating, etc.) are characterized. These results will be carried out by the project partners FH OÖ/ASIC and ViF which can contribute extensive knowledge about sorption technology and numerical modelling. The market potential should be described by a study carried out by project partner IWI. This study will help to identify relevant Austrian stakeholders in the supply chain of electrical vehicle production.