Efficient Heat Pump for Electric Vehicles

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Project Term:
11/21/2011 - 01/04/2014

Critical Need:

The transportation sector is the dominant source of U.S. dependence on foreign oil and a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. Enabling more widespread use of electric vehicles (EVs) would reduce both our dependence on foreign oil and our harm to the environment. Inefficient heating and cooling systems can limit the driving range of EVs by acting as a drain on their batteries. More efficient technologies are needed to provide heating and cooling to EVs without draining the on-board battery packs, in effect extending the driving range of EVs per electric charge. These efficient technologies may also enable thermal management of internal-combustion engine vehicles.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is developing a new class of advanced nanomaterial called an electrical metal organic framework (EMOF) for EV heating and cooling systems. The EMOF would function similar to a conventional heat pump, which circulates heat or cold to the cabin as needed. However, by directly controlling the EMOF's properties with electricity, the PNNL design is expected to use much less energy than traditional heating and cooling systems. The EMOF-based heat pumps would be light, compact, efficient, and run using virtually no moving parts.

Potential Impact:

If successful, PNNL's EMOF-based heat pump could provide efficient heating and cooling for EVs with less impact on vehicle driving range.


Increased use of EVs would decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil—the transportation sector is the dominant source of this dependence.


Greater use of EVs would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from the transportation sector.


This technology would increase the marketability of EVs—helping spur growth in the automobile industry.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. James Klausner
Project Contact:
Dr. Pete McGrail
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


University of South Florida

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