HERA – Integration of active and passive thermal management system for batteries in electrical cars within a load-bearing structure


Batteries in electric vehicles need to operate within a narrow temperature window to ensure maximum range and a long life. Load peaks, such as rapid charging and high acceleration or cold/hot environmental conditions, can cause the battery to exceed this window. Large active thermal management systems are currently used to absorb load peaks and prevent the battery from heating up or cooling down. These active systems consume a large amount of energy and imply additional mass. Furthermore, they are often not able to maintain the optimal operating temperature indefinitely, causing degradation of the battery cells. At HERA, we buffer load peaks by means of latent heat storage in passive components based on phase-change materials (PCM). To make this as efficient as possible, we have developed an intelligent structure that couples effective storage of the heat generated in the battery in the PCM with a tailored active cooling system. In this way, load peaks can be levelled out, thereby increasing range and extending battery life. The structure is based on Triply Periodic Minimal Surface (TPMS), which also allows efficient mass-specific mechanical load-bearing capability.


  • Weight savings through loadbearing structure.
  • Possibility to manufacture these structures conventionally (no additive manufacturing necessary)
  • High adaptability through tailorable geometry
  • Wide range of other applications, such as electrical aviation, heat pumps, reusable rockets, or energy storage for energy grid stability

Institut für Strukturmechanik und Leichtbau
RWTH Aachen
Tobias Meinert

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