Monday, 20 February 2012

HEL’s range of Chemical Reactors and Thermal Hazard Testing capability

Enerrgy, batteries and safety, all relate to HEL's range of chemical reactors and thermal hazard testing capability, which at the moment are undergoing rapid development as governments and industry respond to global warming. A lot of research into bio-fuels, especially using non-food items as the source, involves high pressure chemistry and catalysis which fit perfectly with HEL’s flowCAT and HP Chemcan systems for performing hydrogenation, oxidation and carbonylation reactions (among others). HEL’s unique position arises from the ability to design compact, “analytical-looking” instruments even though complex high pressure and temperature operations are involved yet operability is rendered simple and fast.

The other side of the energy equation is to look ahead to renewable sources which will then require the use of batteries for storage and transportation applications. Battery technology has a long way to go but even the current favourite which is based around Li-ion chemistry poses huge fire/explosion risks unless handled correctly. This leads to HEL’s position as the leading provider of the widest range of calorimetry tools to enable understanding of the chemistry (using typically SIMULAR reaction calorimeter), direct simulation of the thermal runaway risk (with “ARC” type adiabatic calorimeters such as the Battery Testing Calorimeter, BTC) and design of suitable thermal management systems to prevent battery explosive runaway (with the isothermal version of the BTC which directly provides the information for a BMS).

The last of these, iso-BTC, was launched only recently and has huge potentially for providing the heat load that battery thermal management systems must cope with, in order to prevent thermal runaway and explosion. The principle involved here is similar to that used by HEL for years in their reaction calorimeters and the challenge is to translate this to batteries and packs which can be cylindrical, pouch and prismatic in shape and widely different sizes.

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