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NREL - National Renewable Energy Laboratory
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Modeling of Cooling Technologies Improves Performance

Thermal modeling image of spray cooling of inverter chip surface shows the liquid breaking up into fine droplets that impinge on the liquid wall, which enhances the spacial uniformity of heat removal.

Modeling Cooling Technologies—Spray Cooling

The NREL advanced power electronics team is modeling cooling technologies that would enhance performance of the inverters and motors in hybrid-electric and fuel cell vehicles. The team is modeling two-phase spray cooling, jet impingement, and mini- and micro-channel cooling, and has successfully used Fluent software to show a good comparison between numerical models and published experimental data. Currently, the team is conducting modeling to simulate real life conditions such as those that occur in an inverter. These enabling technologies will be able to remove in excess of 200 W/cm2 of heat flux and maintain the surface temperatures at preferred design levels of 125°C.

Researchers are integrating emerging power electronic technologies to manage and control high-power components, which will provide rapid, bi-directional energy flow to improve performance and lower costs. See the Thermal Management page.