Dr.-Ing. Stefan Manuel Schaut is one of nine early career researchers from Baden-Wuerttemberg who received the Advancement Award of the Suedwestmetall Employers’ Association at an online event in Stuttgart on April 14, 2021. Schaut received the award for his dissertation at the University of Stuttgart on the topic "Optimization-Based Strategies for Thermal Management in Electric Vehicles".
In his dissertation, Schaut shows that one of the reasons why people still hesitate to switch to electric vehicles, is the shorter and more difficult-to-calculate range. He makes a convincing case that advances in battery capacity alone will not solve the problem, but that improvements in operating strategies are needed, including quantitatively resilient forward planning in ongoing operations.
The energy-optimized operation of an electric vehicle’s thermal system, which is the largest auxiliary consumer and can lead to a reduction in range of up to 50 percent under unfavorable circumstances, is of central importance in this context. Factors that are less obvious than the need for electrically generated heat in winter also play a role here, e.g. the need to cool the battery when outside temperatures are high. In his work, Schaut investigates how optimization-based operating strategies can be used to reduce energy use for thermal conditioning.
With the Advancement Award, Suedwestmetall has honored for more than 30 years outstanding achievements of early career researchers from the nine state universities in Baden-Wuerttemberg. The Suedwestmetall Advancement Award offered at each university is valued at EUR 5,000. The prizes are awarded annually, upon the respective university’s suggestion, for scientific work that is relevant to industry or its socio-political framework.
"As science plays a leading role in transformation, it is of particularly great importance for our region as a business location," Wilfried Porth, who is the Chairman of Suedwestmetall, emphasized at the event. According to him, the scientific knowledge gained at universities needs to be transfered still more quickly into marketable products, services, and business models. He said: "For this purpose, we need a real transfer culture and a strong network between science and business." The universities would have to market their transfer potential more actively, especially to small and medium-sized enterprises. "Because for SMEs in particular, it is sometimes difficult to identify concrete starting points for cooperation with universities," said the employers’ representative.