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SFI National Challenge Fund: Trinity College Dublin DRIVE – Improving Thermal Management of Batteries in Electric Vehicles.

21 February 2023

Electric Vehicle Charging Road Sign

In a follow-up to our SFI National Challenge Fund news, we would like to highlight the research of Dr Seamus O’Shaughnessy and Dr Daniel Trimble . These researchers at Trinity College Dublin's School of Engineering, along with their Societal Impact Champion Mr Kevin Dowling from the Irish Electric Vehicle Owners Association (IEVOA), have been granted a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) National Climate Challenge Fund award for their innovative DRIVE project aimed at on addressing the thermal challenges related to the battery packs used in electric vehicles.

The team aims to develop new battery heat management processes and systems to increase safety, driving range, and battery lifespan while reducing battery charging times. It is anticipated that significant improvements to these parameters will make electric vehicles more attractive to the consumer, ultimately leading to their much wider adoption.

The transportation sector produces approximately 25% of the European Union’s (EU) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with road transport contributing almost 80% of those emissions. By 2050, the EU wants a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked to transportation. Electric vehicles have been suggested as a viable way to achieve this target. Indeed, the Irish government needs 100% of new car and van sales to be electric vehicles by 2030, as outlined in the 2019 Climate Action Plan.

Dr Seamus O’Shaughnessy stated:

“The Irish government wants 1 million electric vehicles on Irish roads by 2030, but at the end of 2022 there were about 70,000. Clearly, we need to significantly and rapidly increase the uptake of electric vehicles. Many consumer concerns can be traced to the battery pack, so innovation is this space is key. Dr Trimble and I are delighted to be given the opportunity by SFI to work on this topic over the next 18 months, and hopefully beyond.”

The project team will test their solutions using real batteries currently used in electric vehicles, and will investigate how the solutions can be integrated into electric vehicle technology.

The award from SFI is a recognition of the important role that research and innovation can play in addressing the urgent challenge of climate change. With projects like this, researchers are taking an active role in developing practical and effective solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment.


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