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Page updated 16.5.2022

Turku University of Applied Sciences’ innovation increases the charging efficiency of electric car batteries – a small part simplifies assembly and can lower the price of electric cars

Better thermal management of the prismatic battery cell speeds up charging in both cold and hot conditions and extends battery life over long distances.

Turku University of Applied Sciences has developed a new way of managing batteries. The innovation enables more efficient charging of the electric car.  

– The invention makes the battery work more efficiently, for example in frosty weather. The liquid circulating system helps the battery to warm up in cold conditions, which affects the charging speed and battery ageing. Thermal management in cold conditions significantly increases the operating distance of an electric car, says Heikki Saariluoma, Senior Lecturer and project manager at Turku University of Applied Sciences.  

Now that traffic has electrified, we want to do fast charging as quickly as possible. During fast charging, the batteries become warm. The solution of Turku University of Applied Sciences is especially suitable for a prismatic battery cell, in which the part containing the coolant is placed on top of the battery. In addition to cooling, it combines seven other functions into one part, which also brings an advantage to manufacturability. The selected manufacturing technology allows the part to be freely scalable for battery solutions of different sizes.  

Even today, battery packs typically have a thermal management system below or on the sides of the cell. But when batteries are charged or discharged quickly, most heat is generated at the top of the cells.  

– In our solution, cooling is at the top. This ensures that the heating area is cooled much faster than if the cooling is below the battery. Then the total temperature can be considered optimal, the battery is more efficiently charged, and there is less aging, Saariluoma explains.  

The thermal management of the battery cell is being further developed in Turku University of Applied Sciences' New Battery Module project, which is funded by Business Finland. The technology has been refined during the spring, and now patents have been applied for the solution developed by Turku UAS. The innovation has been developed in collaboration with Turku UAS' Research Groups in Manufacturing Technology and Computational Engineering and Analysis .  

The project also pays attention to the domestic manufacture of batteries. There is currently no cell manufacturing plant in Finland. At the same time, all the minerals needed for batteries can also be found in Finland. The project considers the utilization of domestic earth metals during the entire life cycle of the Li-ion battery and the recycling and further processing of raw materials.  

The new type of battery thermal management solution can also be used in work machines, ferries and in the future even in airplanes. For consumers, the greatest benefit of the invention may be reflected in the price of electric cars in the future, as the manufacturability of battery parts is simplified and thereby lowers the overall price of electric cars.  

– That's what we believe, and there's evidence of that. We await with interest how the market and investors will receive this solution.