Modeling and Simulation
Multi-physics simulation of energy storage (ES) devices provides a less expensive, faster, and more controlled alternative to in-lab testing in the early stages of research and development (R&D)—which eventually leads to longer lasting, dependable and powerful batteries. NREL is a recognized leader in systems-level thermal design, performance, lifespan, reliability, and safety modeling and simulation. The lab's 1-D and 3-D steady-state and transient multi-physics models are used to examine heat transfer, electro-chemical, thermal abuse, fluid dynamics, and structural behavior of ES cells and systems.
NREL is leading teams of auto manufacturers, battery developers, and automotive simulation tool developers in the groundbreaking Computer-Aided Engineering for Electric Drive Vehicle Batteries project. The resulting software tools are expected to improve and accelerate battery design, while boosting EDV performance and consumer appeal. A predictive computer simulation of lithium-ion batteries known as the Multi-Scale Multi-Dimensional (MSMD) model acts as the framework for this suite of tools.
With its extensive portfolio of validated simulation tools, the lab's ES experts evaluate solutions for:
Electrochemical kinetic/transport models and 3-D electrochemical-thermal multi-physics models predict and maximize the performance of small and large ES cells by examining:
- Electrode sizing and matching
- Cell form factor and current collector design
- Cell current, voltage, and thermal performance
- Non-uniform active material utilization and temperature distributions that cause excessive degradation.
Life-predictive model and systems-level vehicle thermal design models assess battery:
- Chemical and mechanical degradation caused by environment and cycling
- Performance, life span, and cost tradeoffs
- Excess power and energy sizing to meet life requirement.
Abuse reaction/thermal runaway, internal short circuit, and electrical/chemical/thermal network models evaluate cells and battery thermal runaway risk, heat transfer pathways, safety devices, and behavior during normal or abusive operation.
NREL's techno-economic analyses examine the complex interconnection of technologies, environments, users, applications, and finances over the complete battery life cycle to identify cost-optimal battery use strategies. NREL's Battery Lifetime Analysis and Simulation Tool (BLAST) — formerly known as the Battery Ownership Model (BOM) — uses extensive real-world driver data, historic climate data from cities across the United States, electrical and thermal models of batteries and vehicles, a high-fidelity battery degradation model, and detailed economic accounting functions to support techno-economic studies, including:
- Evaluating range extension strategies for BEVs, including public slow charging, fast charging, and battery swapping
- Comparing conventional ownership scenarios and advanced service provider business models
- Quantifying effects of driver aggression, climate, and vehicle HVAC systems on lifetime BEV utility
- Identifying battery technical requirements for commercially viable BEVs
- Analyzing feasibility of and barriers to battery second-use strategies
- Assessing value of and requirements for grid-connected energy storage applications.
To ensure that computer models produce verifiable results, NREL bases its models on real-world data supplied through partnerships with major automotive and battery manufacturers, combined with data collected in NREL's thermal characterization laboratories.
NREL's Publications Database offers a wide variety of documents related to battery modeling and simulation, including:
- Three Dimensional Thermal-, Electrical-, and Electrochemical-Coupled Model for Cylindrical Wound Large Format Lithium-ion Batteries (2013)
- A Techno-Economic Analysis of BEV Service Providers Offering Battery Swapping Services (2013)
- Models for Battery Reliability and Lifetime: Applications in Design and Health Management (2013)
- Accelerating Electric Vehicle Battery Innovation with Multiphysics Simulation (2012)
- Fast-Charging Battery Development: Multiphysics Simulation Tools Power the Modeling of Thermal Management in Advanced Lithium-Ion Battery Systems for Electric Vehicles (2012)
More energy storage publications can be found here.