By Jenna Freeman | Sep 7, 2017
Nuvation Energy is working with the University of Waterloo's Green and Intelligent Automotive (GAIA) Research Facility to develop greener vehicles. The $10-million research facility houses the latest high-tech automotive equipment, spreads across three labs, and covers 4,000 square feet.
Research at GAIA focuses on everything from improving the range of electric vehicles by extending battery life to finding methods to feed excess energy from vehicles back into the public power grid. It is the largest university-based automotive research centre in Canada.
Nuvation Energy's Role in Battery Testing
Nuvation Energy’s low-voltage battery management system (BMS) has become a key component in battery testing at GAIA. Manoj Mathew, a chemical engineering PHD candidate, relies on it for his work in the Battery Test Centre. Currently, he is focused on improving algorithms that measure State of Health (SOH) and State of Charge (SOC). This work involves performing a series of battery tests using the BMS.
During some of the experiments completed in the Battery Test Centre, researchers push batteries to the extremes of their rated capability. For this reason, batteries are kept in an enclosed glass container as a safety precaution.
Using the equipment at the GAIA Research Facility, researchers are able to push the limits, performing rigorous tests on automobiles that wouldn't otherwise be possible. The ultimate goal is to produce technological advances that will benefit both consumers and the environment.
In the future, GAIA intends to begin renting out lab space. This will enable manufacturers in the automotive industry to perform experiments using GAIA’s state-of-the-art equipment, as well as utilize Nuvation Energy’s utility-grade battery management system.
What You’ll Find at the GAIA Research Facility
- A vehicle test cell with a chassis dynamometer — basically a treadmill for cars — used to measure things like the output of exhaust and the performance of a new radar sensor
- A battery test cell that transfers energy to and from the local electrical grid
- A 40-node radio frequency (RF) sensor network, providing connectivity and monitoring across all GAIA labs
- A powertrain test cell used to evaluate engines, motors, hybrid powertrains and transmissions, to ultimately improve the efficient transfer of power to drive the wheels
GAIA also has the capability of doing full vehicle simulation, using the battery, motor, engine and full powertrain systems