COUNTDOWN TO: MIA EEMS2023 - Net Zero Motorsport Conference in association with WAE

British Motor Museum, Gaydon, 21 March, 2023

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The Third Certainty

With the planet and the universe in a state of constant change and uncertainty, SPAL Automotive UK MD Matthew Morris has been pondering life and the laws of physics. 

I have been told there are only two certainties in life, but now I feel compelled to add a third – death, taxes and thermal management.

Almost everything we do will cause an increase in temperature, even if we don’t want it to and with every process where there is a transfer of energy, something, somewhere is going to get hot and that will require cooling. 

Of course, in engineering terms, things need to get hot to be effective but when heat reaches a certain level, it becomes destructive so you need cooling to ensure the optimum temperature is achieved and then maintained. 

In our business moving something from A to B whatever the method of propulsion including new energy vehicles involves the production of heat of considerable intensity and complexity and that needs cooling. 

A brief history of air cooling

Since the invention of the wheel any chariot, cart or wagon would be reliant on natural air cooling as the vehicle moved along and the greater the speed of travel, the greater the cooling.   

Air cooled cars were a thing of beauty such as the likes of the Skoda Sagitta where out on the open roads there was plenty of space to harness the wind passing through the front grill to cool down the radiator.

However as soon as difficult road conditions caused by increasing traffic became an issue, you needed the help of an engine cooling fan to keep the engine running at peak temperature while it was stationary. 

A brief history of SPAL fans

SPAL has been in the business of moving air around via its range of high-performance axial fans for many decades which were originally conceived for the purpose of engine bay cooling.

Having made its name in ICE applications with its brushed range of axial fans with off/on functionality (i.e. when the engine is on the fans rotate and when it is switched off the fans do too), the development of smart-controlled highly responsive and efficient brushless drive fans put SPAL ahead of the game when it came to emerging methods of propulsion.  

From hybrid and electric battery cooling to hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen powered vehicles all of these progressions on the road to low, net and zero emissions solutions result in the generation of considerable heat, which ultimately needs to be corrected by cooling.

The next big thing in cooling

The biggest cooling challenge of course is climate change which is causing the planet to heat up in problematic ways.  The only way we can impact that is try to reduce the speed of it happening or at least not make it any worse; which leads us to the next big thing in cooling - the thermal management of renewable energy storage units for heating our homes.  

These compact battery pack systems store the excess energy generated by solar roof panels or airsource heat pumps and feed energy back into the network.

If our enquiries from various shows and exhibitions are anything to go by SPAL’s brand of efficient, effective cooling will always be in demand for this type of static application and many more innovative purposes in the future.