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Johnson Controls Collaborates With European Research Organization To Advance Battery Technology

Project to focus on next-generation cooling systems for Lithium-ion battery packs that will help save consumers money at the pump, company says.

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OBERHAUSEN, Germany — Johnson Controls and Fraunhofer Gesellschaft have signed a collaboration agreement to develop the next generation of more energy-efficient, cost-effective cooling systems for vehicle batteries.

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Scientists and engineers at Johnson Controls will work with both Fraunhofer’s Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT) and with its Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM).

The collaboration will focus on technologies and thermal management strategies for Lithium-ion battery packs. Currently, systems with fans, compressors or pumps use energy to pull heat out of a battery.

"Optimizing the energy storage solution within the broader vehicle environment will enable Johnson Controls to design, develop and commercialize systems which not only meet our customers’ requirements, but also lead to improvements in function, package and cost," said MaryAnn Wright, vice president of engineering and product development for Johnson Controls Power Solutions.

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The scope of the work will initially focus on 48-Volt Micro Hybrid battery technology, which is designed to deliver strong fuel and emissions efficiency, and load management at a lower price than hybrid and electric vehicle technology. 

Johnson Controls has demonstrated its advanced Micro Hybrid battery technology has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 15 percent, thus helping automakers meet increasing regulations, while consumers save money when they fill their gas tank.

The technology is expected to be adopted in Europe first and then quickly move to the U.S., with global adoption starting in 2020.

"Our commitment to developing new battery technologies is exemplified in our strong global academic network and national lab partnerships," said Wright. "Innovative collaborations, like the one we have with the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, are an investment in both the future of academic research in energy management, as well the development of the talent pipeline for our industry."

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Along with the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Johnson Controls Power Solutions works with partners such as Argonne National Lab, the University of Wisconsin System, Lawrence Technological University, Ohio State University, the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Hannover University, Aachen University, the University of Cambridge and the University of Science and Technology- Beijing.

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