ELECTROWetting heat pipes for cooling Applications in Electric Vehicles is a project leaded by IST-ID in partnership with UT Austin and FEUP. Started on December 1 and lasting 12 months, the project consists of proving the concept of novel heat pipe technology for multiple, disruptive, energy-related applications (patent pending) and showing its suitability in cooling the batteries of electric vehicles.
Heat pipes are widely used passive devices to transport heat via phase change (evaporation followed by condensation) of the working fluid. However, the capacity of conventional heat pipes to transport high heat loads over long distances is very limited. The co-PI at UT Austin (Prof. Bahadur) recently conceptualized an electrowetting heat pipe (EHP) to transport high heat loads (kilowatts) over long distances (meters). This patent pending technology can enable disruptive advancements in many energy applications related to transportation, power generation, data center cooling and thermal management.
The proposed work includes the analysis/development of new technology to enhance the performance of the EHP and an analysis of the benefits of an EHP for the thermal management of electric vehicles. The first task explores a novel concept for enhancing the performance of the evaporator of the heat pipe. The evaporator section of the heat pipe absorbs heat and determines the thermal performance to a significant extent. This task involves analysis and experiments and will be led UT Austin. The second task (led by Ana Moita from IN+) will develop a system level model of the EHP and utilize it to quantify the utility of EHPs for thermal management of electric vehicles. A third task led by FEUP will be the development of the numerical model of the system to optimize this configuration for the application to electric vehicles.