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Townsend-AllCell JV to commercialize battery passive thermal management technology
11 May 2012
AllCell Technologies, LLC and Townsend Ventures, LLC have formed a venture, Townsend-AllCell Technologies, LLC, to commercialize AllCell’s passive thermal management technology for advanced battery systems and packs. AllCell’s technology makes use of phase change materials (PCM) to extend battery life and prevent overheating and battery fires. (Earlier post.)
Townsend-AllCell will have the exclusive world-wide rights to commercialize AllCell’s patented technology for automotive battery applications plus additional rights for other markets including grid energy storage applications. AllCell’s PCM technology is an addition to Townsend’s existing portfolio of energy investments, which includes Dow Kokam, LLC; Energy Power Systems, LLC; and Xtreme Power.
Thermal management is widely acknowledged as integral to the future of electric vehicles (EVs). Lithium-ion batteries generate heat as a by-product of discharge. If that heat is not safely removed, the battery cells degrade, reducing battery life, and can potentially lead to safety issues.
Thermal management of lithium-ion battery systems is critical to the success of all-electric vehicles because extreme temperatures can affect performance, reliability, safety and durability.—V. Anand Sankaran, Executive Technical Leader - Energy Storage and HV Electrical Systems at Ford Motor Company
AllCell’s PCM surrounds each Li-ion cell to absorb and conduct heat away from the battery. This maintains a constant temperature throughout the battery pack, extending life and preventing catastrophic thermal runaway.
The PCM uses paraffin wax micro-encapsulated in a graphite matrix specially designed to prevent leaking of the melted wax and provide best-in-class cooling properties. As a battery discharges, the graphite matrix conducts the heat evenly throughout the pack, while the paraffin wax absorbs the heat as it melts and controls temperature. During resting or charging, the paraffin re-solidifies.
AllCell’s PCM technology, already commercialized in military, medical and light electric vehicle (LEV) applications, is currently under evaluation by several global automakers, according to the company. The PCM technology can rapidly absorb large amounts of heat, allowing auto battery designers to eliminate bulky liquid cooling systems.
AllCell’s PCM involves no moving parts, requires no power to operate and continues to protect batteries from overheating even when the vehicle is parked. This passive protection can be essential to vehicle safety after accidents or when other systems on the vehicle fail—a critical shortcoming of today’s active thermal management systems.
Passive thermal management is similarly critical for stationary energy storage, particularly systems that are exposed to high ambient temperatures and solar loading. Beyond managing the internal heat generated during battery discharge, phase change materials are also suited to absorb environmental heat during the day and release it back to the atmosphere when temperatures drop at night. Round-the-clock thermal management without the need for air conditioning systems or other energy-using processes will lower the cost and extend the life of grid storage systems.
Townsend-AllCell will accelerate AllCell’s efforts in commercializing this technology in the rapidly growing market for large grid-connected energy storage systems.
This venture is a critical part of AllCell’s long-term strategy. The partnership with Townsend allows us to work with a world-class organization with an enviable track record of success. AllCell will continue to focus on our fast growing markets of light electric vehicle and renewable energy storage applications, which will benefit immensely from our access to automotive-grade improvements in our thermal management technology made by Townsend-AllCell.—AllCell CEO Said Al-Hallaj
AllCell’s technology was developed exclusively by IIT professors Dr. Said Al-Hallaj and Dr. Robert Selman.
Formed in 2007, Townsend Ventures serves as the primary investment vehicle for Townsend Capital’s energy related investments.
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