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XERIC Report Summary

Project ID: 653605
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - XERIC (Innovative Climate-Control System to Extend Range of Electric Vehicles and Improve Comfort)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The limited capacity of electric batteries combined with the substantial amount of energy needed to run auxiliary equipment dramatically affects the range capability of electric vehicles. For instance, the climate control system in Summer conditions can absorb up to 60% of the available energy.
XERIC’s aim is to develop an energy-friendly climate-control system for electric vehicles capable to reduce by more than 50% the energy used for passenger comfort all over the year.
Currently air is dehumidified and cooled by using climate control systems based on the traditional vapour compression cycle, which cools air below its dew point.
Alternatively, solid or liquid desiccants are used as an energy efficient way to dehumidify air without cooling it below its dew point, which allows to control temperature and humidity independently. However, current desiccant systems cannot be used in vehicles.
In XERIC we are working to exploit technologically the properties of aqueous solutions of desiccants housed in a novel three-fluids-combined-membrane-contactor (3F-CMC) that simultaneously works with air, desiccant solution, and refrigerant. The idea is to develop a hybrid system in which air can be dehumidified without the need to be cooled below its dew-point.
A liquid desiccant cycle, which deals with the latent heat load, and a traditional vapour compression cycle, which deals with the sensible heat load, are combined resulting in a system where the vapour compression cycle operates at higher refrigerant evaporation temperature and at lower condensation temperature; therefore, the overall system efficiency increases.
The objective is to develop an industrially viable hybrid climate control system for electric vehicles able to guarantee comfort to passengers and to reduce by more than 50% the energy used.
The following activities are developed:
• integrate a liquid desiccant cycle housed in a 3F-CMC with a vapour compression cycle;
• devise a new customized membrane to optimize the performance of the 3F-CMC;
• devise an electronic control system to improve efficiency of climate control system’s compressor;
• manufacture a small-scale prototype capable of processing 100 m3/h of external air (i.e., about 30% of the typical air flow rate through the passengers’ cabin);
• evaluate the environmental impact of the climate control system as part of life cycle analysis and life cycle cost analysis assessments.
XERIC’s partners are:
3. UNIVERSITY OF GENOA (UNIGE), IT - acting as 3rd partner of TICASS
More information are available at

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The design of the 3F-CMC has been defined and the materials constituting its components (i.e., membrane, refrigerant, desiccant, frames, mini-tubes, closing plates, and spacers) have been selected.
Based on this design a preliminary (“dummy”) prototype of the 3F-CMC has been prepared. Work is in progress to develop the other components of the XERIC system; i.e., a variable displacement compressor and an electronic control system. The prototype has been prepared by using a commercial PTFE membrane properly treated to accommodate the project needs.
For the development of the specific membrane needed for this system, two polymer/solvent systems (PVDF/DMAc and PVDF/DMSO) have been investigated. Vapour induced phase separation (VIPS) has been chosen as method of membrane preparation. A prototype membrane characterised by 70% of the desired final parameters has been obtained. Tests to scale up at pilot level the membrane developed are in progress. Plasma treatments to increase hydrophobicity of PVDF membranes, either commercial membranes or membranes newly developed within the project, have been studied.
The preselected materials for the frame and minitubes have been numerically investigated to eliminate the risks from mechanical damage of 3F-CMC. Pre-stressed configuration caused by the fixing of the frames together, as well as stresses due to applied loads under operating conditions, have been computed and evaluated. Furthermore, a first 3D model of the heat and mass transfer process in the 3F-CMC was derived allowing to evaluate numerically the performance of the device and to provide input for modelling efforts planned at the next project stage. The evaluation of the main operating variables (e.g. desiccant solution concentration, flow rate, and temperature) that control the performance of a heat exchange prototype circuit is in progress.
Currently work to arrange the experimental set up of the entire desiccant cycle is in progress.
Goal, Scope and Boundaries for the Life Cycle Analysis have been defined.
Project logo; specific templates for deliverables, milestones, reports, and brochures have been implemented. The public website - has been completed.
The 1st and 2nd bi-annual newsletters have been distributed to more than one hundred people. The “1st review of publications, oral presentations and training activities” has been delivered. A Patent Analysis and Mapping document has been produced.
The Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) has been set-up.
The 1st XERIC workshop titled “Improving Energy Efficiency In Electric Vehicles” has been organised and will be held on November 24, 2016 in Bologna, IT. The 2nd XERIC workshop will be held in April in Monaco, Fr in occasion of the international conference EVER 2017 focussed on electric vehicles.
All the work foreseen on DMP has been fully carried out until now, with the production in due time of two deliverables for WP6. The last up-date of DMP will be produced in the second period (M19-M36) of XERIC as indicated in the Grant Agreement and it will include also the task related to meta-data treatment.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The work done during the first 18 months of the project confirms that the novel climate control system that will be developed could be capable to reduce the energy needed to run the currently used climate control systems for EVs by more than 30% when used in extreme conditions (T=30°C and RH=60%). Moreover, it will guarantee a saving of at least 50% of the energy used for passenger comfort all over the year (i.e., air heating, cooling and dehumidifying), compared to climate control systems nowadays existing worldwide.

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