Johnson Controls funding research fellows at UW-Madison

Projects aimed at improving start-stop batteries

Johnson Controls Inc. headquarters
The Johnson Controls Inc. operational headquarters in Glendale.

Glendale-based Johnson Controls announced Thursday it is funding two multi-year research projects at the University of Wisconsin-Madison aimed at improving the fuel efficiency of start-stop and next-generation battery-electric vehicles.

Johnson Controls Inc. headquarters
The Johnson Controls Inc. headquarters in Glendale.

The partnership includes $500,000 in funding for a fellows program. UW-Madison graduate students Jacob Dubie and Kevin Frankforter will be the first recipients of the Johnson Controls Distinguished Graduate Fellowships.

Dubie and Frankforter will be focusing on identifying the aging mechanism of absorbent glass mat batteries and supporting systems in start-stop applications and vehicle optimization strategies.

Start-stop technology automatically shuts off the engine when the car is idling and restarts when the driver’s foot leaves the brake pedal, providing better fuel efficiency and emissions. The vehicle then draws on the battery to power its electrical loads. The battery has to be able to restart the engine many times during typical driving.

When the engine is off, the vehicle’s electrical system draws energy from the AGM battery to power all electrical loads in the vehicle. The AGM battery in start-stop vehicles must be able to restart the engine many times during a typical day of driving.

Dr. Thomas Jahns, UW–Madison Grainger professor of power electronics and electrical machines, and Dr. Deyang Qu, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Johnson Controls endowed professor, will supervise the project.

“We are bringing together students and the world’s best energy storage and powertrain engineers to tackle challenges in advancing vehicle technology,” said MaryAnn Wright, Johnson Controls Power Solutions group vice president industry relations. “The results will help future vehicle technology to deliver optimum performance and environmental efficiency.”

The second project will explore opportunities to leverage other energy storage devices to provide peak power acceptance and cycling capability.


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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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