Using liquid nitrogen to freeze batteries could enable them to be transported safely, researchers from the UK’s WMG at the University of Warwick in collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover have found.
Legislation dictates damaged and defective lithium-ion car batteries have to be placed within an explosion proof box when being transported, which for a Tesla-sized pack costs around €10,000 ($11,000) and a further €10,000 for the UN accreditation.
WMG proposes lithium-ion could be transported in plastic containers that cost a couple of hundred pounds in their paper, ‘Cycle life of lithium ion batteries after flash cryogenic freezing’ published in the Journal of Energy Storage.
The team at WMG reported that cryogenic freezing did not reduce the energy capacity, affect cycle, or service life, of a lithium-ion battery.
The team also used penetration tests on frozen cells to investigate their safety.
Dr Thomas Grandjean from WMG, said: “Transporting damaged and defective batteries is an expensive and unsustainable process, however being able to freeze them with liquid nitrogen could save thousands of pounds and help electric vehicle manufacturers be more sustainable.
“We tested the batteries in the most extreme abuse conditions, such as driving nails through the cells and inducing external short circuits, proving that the freezing process is effective and safe.”
Explosion boxes are used to contain the battery in case it goes into thermal runway, an overheating condition that can lead to violent explosions and toxic gases being released.
Researchers were part of the ELEVATE project funded by ESPRC, Catapult and supported by Jaguar Land Rover.