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NREL Engineer Recognized for Leadership in Motor Thermal Management

June 16, 2016

NREL senior engineer and researcher Kevin Bennion received a special recognition award from the U.S. Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Office for expertise and leadership in the thermal management of motor designs in electric drive technologies research. The award was presented at a Vehicle Technologies Office ceremony on June 6, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

Electric drive technologies include electric motors, inverters, boost converters, and on-board chargers -- the essential components of hybrid and plug-in electric vehicle propulsion systems. Thermal management research and development of these technologies aim to reduce cost and improve performance of innovative electric drive devices, components, and systems.

"As the automotive industry transitions to more electrically dominant vehicle propulsion systems, effective thermal management for electric motors becomes more important," Bennion said. "There's a push to reduce the size and weight of components and lower costs without sacrificing performance or reliability, which can increase the demands on electric drive systems."

Thermal constraints place significant limitations on how electric motors ultimately perform, and thermal management improvements result in improvements in motor performance, efficiency, and cost reductions.

Current NREL research is helping to support industry demand for data, analysis methods, and experimental techniques to improve motor thermal management, and achieve aggressive performance and cost targets for electric drive vehicles.

To learn more, see the recent annual report on NREL's electric motor thermal management R&D.