Spotlight Q&A: Thermal Management conference session

At Vehicle Electrification and Battery Cells & Systems Expo 2024 

Spotlight Q&A with Kevin Porter, Technical Director, ahead of thermal management conference session

Ahead of the upcoming conference session at Battery Cells & Systems Expo, we caught up with our very own Kevin Porter, who will be participating as a conference speaker at the event.

Kevin will be discussing the topic of thermal cell barriers for safer, higher performance batteries and will take part in a panel discussion later in the day exploring how collaboration and agility can transform EV and battery manufacturing.

Q: Can you give us a sneak peek into what attendees can expect from your speaking session at the upcoming conference?

A: At the expo I’m excited to be talking about a topic that’s at the heart of cutting-edge battery technology - managing thermal energy in battery packs. In the presentation I’ll be digging into our practical experience on preventing thermal propagation from a thermal runaway event.

We’ll explore the range of challenges facing battery development engineers and how the integration of advanced thermal cell barriers, combined with the right approach and manufacturing systems, is helping to solve these challenges.

Q: What inspired you to focus on the integration of advanced thermal cell barriers in battery technology, and how does it contribute to enhancing battery safety and performance?

A: For several years we’ve focused on the renewable and sustainable energy market, so developing value-add components for Electric Vehicle batteries sat firmly within that focus. It also aligns with our commitment to pioneering innovation, constantly seeking out new challenges with the potential to deliver significant value to the industry.

Our conversations with leaders in automotive revealed a pressing need for a high volume, highly efficient solution for advanced thermal cell barriers. These barriers are crucial for preventing intense thermal energy from a malfunctioning cell propagating to neighbouring cells. Additionally, they manage the space between the cells, and cell expansion and contraction to facilitate high performance and extend cell longevity.

Advanced Thermal Cell Barrier with Built in Frame

Above: Advanced thermal cell barrier with built in frame

Q: Without giving away too much, could you highlight one key takeaway that attendees will gain from your session regarding the importance of thermal management in electric vehicles? 

A: A critical insight revolves around the importance of delivering customised thermal management solutions. Our experience underscores the necessity of considering every project independently, to develop customised solutions that achieve optimum performance and safety – there is no ‘one size fits all’.

Q: How do you envision advanced thermal cell barriers shaping the future of EV thermal management, and what potential benefits do they offer to OEMs and consumers alike?

A: Advanced thermal cell barriers enable more power to be stored in less space, so this helps to enable electric vehicles with greater range, longer battery life and enhanced performance benefitting both OEMs and consumers.

Historically, the complexity of manufacturing advanced thermal cell barriers limited their development. However, with Tecman’s industry-leading manufacturing system, OEMs and the industry are able to access the benefits of an optimised cell barrier at a cost-effective level and at a large scale.

Q: You'll also be participating in a panel discussion on collaboration in the EV supply chain. How can collaborative efforts drive innovation within this sector?

A: Collaboration in the EV supply chain is critical for driving and supporting innovation and for solving persistent industry challenges. Collaboration helps to blend different understanding and experience, creating an ideal environment for ideas to emerge and exchange. I firmly believe that if you get the right minds around the table, with a high trust collaborative approach, then any challenge can be solved.

Q: What are some of the key challenges you anticipate in implementing collaborative models within EV manufacturing, and how do you propose overcoming them? 

A: A key challenge in fostering collaboration is encouraging the industry to diverge from traditional development methodology to more open and innovative ways of working. This includes embracing cutting-edge solutions offered by smaller organisation and establishing a high-trust environment where all parties will mutually benefit.

By valuing contributions from both large and small players, there can be a more innovative and cooperative EV manufacturing industry. 

Q: Can you share a notable example where collaboration has resulted in significant advancements or breakthroughs in EV or battery design and manufacturing?

A major automotive OEM approached us to help with the design and manufacture of a thermal cell barrier to better manage thermal runaway within their EV battery pack. The majority of the company were involved in supporting this project, working very closely with the customer’s engineering team, technical experts and supply partners etc. to develop the first Framed ATP Pad, an advanced thermal cell barrier.

Advanced thermal cell barrier with built in frame

The solution increased the thermal propagation delay to over 20 minutes and is used across the customer’s EV range.

Register to attend the conference and exhibition at NEC, Birmingham

Kevin’s presentation, "Delivering Cost-Effective Thermal Cell Barriers for Safer, Higher Performance Batteries", is scheduled for 10:20 am in Theatre B on May 16, 2024. The panel discussion, "Collaboration, More Agility: How Joining Forces Could Transform EV and Battery Design and Manufacturing", begins at 3:15 pm in Theatre A on the same date.

You can register for free to attend Vehicle Electrification and Battery Cells & Systems Expo 2024. The event promises to be an invaluable opportunity to engage with industry leaders and gain important insights into the evolving landscape of EV technology, including thermal runaway protection.



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