Johnson Controls to collaborate with European research company

Special to The Freeman

March 20, 2014

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

The collaboration pairs the world's leading automotive battery supplier with Europe's largest organization for applied research, according to a company statement. Scientists and engineers at Johnson Controls, the Glendale-based company with core businesses in the automotive, building and energy storage industries, will work with both Fraunhofer's Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology and its Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials.

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, the statement said.

"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.

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.

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