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Computer-Aided Engineering for Electric-Drive Vehicle Batteries (CAEBAT)

Graphic of a 24-cell module battery prototype.

GM pack-level validation of CAEBAT tool using prototype for 24-cell module. Left: CAD geometry model. Right: FLUENT simulations. Images: Courtesy of GM

Graphic of stack pouch, wound cylindrical, and wound prismatic battery cells.

NREL enhancements to the framework functionality of cell domain models provided complete tool sets for CAEBAT partner simulation of all major cell form-factors (from left to right): stack pouch, wound cylindrical, and wound prismatic cells. Images: NREL

Graphic showing external battery case and two variations of wound prismatic cell configuration.

CD-adapco model construction showing external battery case and two variations of wound prismatic cell configuration for combined flow, thermal, and electrochemical simulation using CAEBAT tools. Images: Courtesy of CD-adapco

Graphic showing a range of wound prismatic battery cell configurations.

NREL's MSMD model quantifies the impacts of electrical/thermal pathway design on uneven charge-discharge kinetics in a wide range of large-format wound prismatic cells. Images: NREL

Graphics of Li-ion battery cells and packs.

Thermal-electrochemical models of Li-ion battery cells and packs. Wound electrode cell performance simulation (top left); time evolution of short in a prismatic cell (top right); pack simulation with cooling (bottom). Images: Courtesy of EC Power

The Computer-Aided Engineering for Electric-Drive Vehicle Batteries (CAEBAT) project is accelerating the development and lowering the cost of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries for next-generation electric-drive vehicles (EDVs). CAEBAT efforts focus on:

  • Developing engineering tools to design battery cells and packs
  • Shortening the battery prototyping and manufacturing processes
  • Improving overall battery performance, safety, and lifespan
  • Reducing expenses related to battery development and production.

The Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy initiated the CAEBAT project in 2010 to facilitate the development of computer-aided engineering tools based on battery models developed by the national laboratories.

NREL brings its predictive computer simulation of Li-ion batteries, known as a multi-scale multi-dimensional (MSMD) model framework, to the CAEBAT project. MSMD's modular, flexible architecture connects the physics of battery charge/discharge processes, thermal control, safety, and reliability in a computationally efficient manner. This allows independent development of submodels at the cell and pack levels.

CAEBAT Industry Teams

NREL coordinates CAEBAT activities with battery, vehicle, and software industries to develop the first generation of electrochemical-thermal CAEBAT tools for the design and simulation of battery cells and packs.

After a competitive selection process, NREL awarded subcontracts worth $7 million to the following three industry teams:

Each CAEBAT team is working independently to develop and validate modeling and design tools for EDV batteries, with an emphasis on integrating electrochemical, electrical, mechanical, and thermal physics. Teams are also exploring different chemistries, cell geometries, and battery pack configurations.

These industry partners are contributing 50% of project costs, bringing the overall CAEBAT budget to $14 million for three years.

In support of the CAEBAT project, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is developing an open-architecture software interface to link the models developed by different teams into the CAEBAT suite of tools. ORNL is also developing input-output interfaces to allow utilization of models across different platforms.

CAEBAT Publications

NREL's Publications Database offers a wide variety of documents related to the development of batteries and energy storage systems for EDVs. The following publications document CAEBAT project activities:


  • S. Santhanagopalan, C. Zhang, M. A Sprague, A. Pesaran, "A Representative-Sandwich Model for Simultaneously Coupled Mechanical-Electrical-Thermal Simulation of Lithium-Ion Battery Cell under Quasi-Static Indentation Tests," J. Power Sources, Submitted.

  • J. Marcicki, X.G.Yang, and P. Rairigh, "Fault Current Measurements During Crush Testing of Electrically Parallel Lithium-Ion Battery Modules," ECS Letters, Submitted.

  • C. Zhang, S. Santhanagopalan, M. A Sprague, A. Pesaran, "Coupled Mechanical-Electrical-Thermal Modeling for Short-Circuit Prediction in a Lithium-Ion Cell under Mechanical Abuse," J. Power Sources, 290, p. 102-113 (2015).

  • S. Santhanagopalan, C. Zhang, A. Pesaran, E. Sahraei, Tomasz Wierzbicki, "Electrochemical-Thermal Behavior of Lithium-Ion Cells Subjected to Mechanical Crush." Presented at the AABC in Detroit MI (2015).

  • A. Pesaran, G.H. Kim, S. Santhanagopalan, "Coupled Mechanical-Electrochemical-Thermal Modeling For Accelerated Design of EV Batteries," 28th Electric Vehicle Symposium, Kintex, Korea (2015).

  • M. Jun, K. Smith, P. Graf, "State-Space Representation of Li-Ion Battery Porous Electrode Impedance Model with Balanced Model Order Reduction," J. Power Sources, 273(1), p.1226-1236 (2015).

  • C. Zhang, S. Santhanagopalan, M.A. Sprague, A. A. Pesaran, "Short-Circuit Simulation of Lithium-Ion Battery," 13th US National Congress on Computational Mechanics, San Diego, CA (2015).

  • G.H. Kim, C. Yang, K. Smith, A. Pesaran, "Integrated Multiscale Multiphysics Modeling of Safety Response in Lithium-Ion Batteries." Presented at the AABC in Detroit, MI (2015).

  • A. Pesaran, T. Wierzbicki and E. Sahraei, S. Dajka and G. Li, S. Santhanagopalan, C. Zhang, G.H. Kim, M.A. Sprague, "Coupling Mechanical with Electrochemical-Thermal Models for Batteries under Abuse." Presented at the 2015 DOE Annual Merit Review, Washington, D.C. (2015).

  • G.H. Kim, A. Pesaran, K. Smith, P. Graf, M. Jun, C. Yang, G. Li, S. Li, A. Hochman, D. Tselepidakis, "Significant Enhancement of Computational Efficiency in Nonlinear Multiscale Battery Model for Computer Aided Engineering." Presented at the 2015 DOE Annual Merit Review, Washington D.C. (2015).

  • S. Santhanagopalan, C. Zhang, M.A. Sprague, A. Pesaran, Jim Marcicki, P. Rairigh, X.G.Yang, Alex Bartlett, "Crash Propagation in Automotive Batteries: Simulations and Validation." Presented at the 2015 DOE Annual Merit Review, Washington D.C. (2015).

  • P. Barai, K. Smith, C.-F. Chen, G.-H. Kim, P.P. Mukherjee. (2014). "Reduced Order Modeling of Mechanical Degradation Induced Performance Decay in Lithium-Ion Battery Porous Electrodes," J. Electrochem. Soc. 162 (9) A1751-A1771,

  • D.R. Diercks, M. Musselman, A. Morgenstern, T. Wilson, M. Kumar, K. Smith, M. Kawase, B.P. Gorman, M. Eberhart, C.E. Packard, "Evidence for Anisotropic Mechanical Behavior and Nanoscale Chemical Heterogeneity in Cycled LiCoO2," J. Electrochem. Soc., 161(11): F3039-F3045; doi:10.1149/2.0071411jes (2014).

  • K. An, P.Barai, K. Smith, P.P. Mukherjee, "Probing the Thermal Implications in Mechanical Degradation of Lithium-Ion Battery Electrodes," J. Electrochem. Soc., 161(6): A1058-A1070, (2014).

  • C. Yang, G.H. Kim, S. Santhanagopalan, A. Pesaran, "Multi-Physics Modeling of Thermal Runaway Propagation in a Li-Ion Battery Module." Presented at the 225th ECS Meeting, Orlando, FL. (2014).


Press releases:



CAEBAT Contact

For more information on CAEBAT activities, contact Gi-Heon Kim, 303-275-4437.