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Integration Of Modern Energy Storage Design Practices Into University Automotive Engineering Programs

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Energy Education and Industry Needs

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.783.1 - 15.783.10

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Paper Authors

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Frank Falcone Argonne National Laboratory

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Terrence Davidovits A123 Systems

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Eric Schacht The Ohio State Univeristy

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Michael Wahlstrom Argonne National Laboratory

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Title of the Paper: Integration of Modern Energy Storage Design Practices into University Automotive Engineering Programs


As automotive technology surges forward at an ever increasing pace, Argonne National Laboratory works to keep the US Department of Energy sponsored Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions current by introducing university students to cutting edge tools, technologies, and design practices. One major addition to the AVTCs is energy storage system design. Traditionally, AVTC energy storage systems were purchased components which students integrated into vehicles. However, with advanced vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt nearly to market, the AVTC steering committee found that off the shelf energy storage solutions were no longer adequate to enable students to sufficiently push efficiency and performance envelopes. The competition’s scope has been expanded to enable teams to design custom energy storage solutions using cutting edge Lithium Iron Phosphate battery technology and design processes.

AVTC organizers worked with the competition’s primary energy storage sponsor, A123 Systems, to develop the logistical and technical infrastructure to define schedules, deliverables, training, technical support, and provide hardware to the teams. Students worked through the summer of 2009 preparing comprehensive design reports which were evaluated by a team of industry subject matter experts from A123 systems, Argonne National Laboratory and General Motors. The design process brought computational fluid dynamics, dimensional analysis, thermodynamics, cooling system design, control strategy development, failure identification and mitigation, and finite element analysis up to new levels within the competition. Passage of these technical evaluations was necessary to receive energy storage hardware. These engineering experiences help the AVTC continue to cultivate the talent required to support modern automotive research, development, and design.

Introduction to the AVTC

Over the span of twenty two years, the Advanced Vehicle Technology Program managed by Argonne National Laboratory and sponsored by the US Department of Energy as strived to bring government, industry and academia together to meet timely automotive related challenges in an educational environment. Primarily, these challenges have been powertrain centric focused on reducing energy consumption and tail pipe emissions. The engineering work is performed by multiple disciplines of college level engineering students thereby exposing students to the types of problems they will need to solve if they chose to work in the automotive industry. In the competition’s early years, most of the engineering was performed by mechanical engineering students. Students modified engines to run on various alternative fuels such as propane, methanol, and ethanol. As technology evolved, so did the competitions as hybrid powertrain architectures entered the field. This expanded the required engineering skill sets to include electrical and electro-mechanical engineering experience to the program. In 2004, Challenge X began which expanded the competition series time frame from 1 year to 3. Argonne, the US DOE, and General Motors worked to design a program that integrated a modified vehicle development process into the academic environment. This program further tasked students with

Falcone, F., & Davidovits, T., & Schacht, E., & Wahlstrom, M. (2010, June), Integration Of Modern Energy Storage Design Practices Into University Automotive Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky.

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