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NREL and Thought Leaders Gather at Electric Vehicle Battery Management Summit

Battery cyclers in NREL's Thermal Test Facility.

The January 10 tour will feature NREL’s Thermal Test Facility, which houses equipment including these battery cyclers used in AMPED research. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

December 23, 2013

From January 8 to 10, 2014, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) researchers, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program directors and technology managers, and other thought leaders will gather in Denver, Colorado, to exchange strategies for maximizing the performance, safety, and lifespan of the next generation of electric-drive vehicle (EDV) batteries. This annual review of DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA-E’s) Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED) program, which focuses on system-level innovations, is expected to attract close to 100 academic, national lab, industry, and government experts. On the final day of the gathering (January 10), NREL researchers will tour attendees through the lab’s energy storage research and development (R&D) labs and the Energy Systems Integration Facility.

NREL engineers are working with three AMPED teams led by Utah State University, Washington University, and Eaton Corporation on projects to optimize utilization, life, and cost of lithium-ion (Li-ion) EDV batteries through improved management and controls. Other AMPED teams invited to attend the January meeting are led by organizations including Ford Motor Company, GE Global Research, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Palo Alto Research Center, and Pennsylvania State University.

Participants will see firsthand NREL labs being used for the AMPED projects. In addition to visiting the Thermal Testing Facility, tour attendees will also get a look inside the new Energy Systems Integration Facility, the only megawatt-scale laboratory of its kind.

“The collaborative synergies that surface at these meetings can lead to dramatic improvements. We are excited to show NREL facilities and hope that sharing our R&D activities will spark additional developments,” says NREL Energy Storage Group Manager Ahmad Pesaran. “Ultimately, these AMPED projects should make EDVs more affordable for many more drivers.”

At the mid-point of these projects, the teams have made considerable progress. NREL has completed a cost-benefit analysis for the Utah State University project on large battery pack power management, confirming that active-balancing systems can be used to extend the lifespan and reduce the size of multi-cell battery packs without increasing cost. NREL models for Washington University’s battery management system design project have been completed, and researchers are starting to implement them in hardware. In the Eaton Corporation’s predictive battery management for hybrid vehicles project, NREL’s cell and pack tests and model validation have delivered positive results, and the team is beginning to implement on-board controls.

The AMPED projects are funded by ARPA-E, which is providing a total of $30 million in funding to 14 research projects to leverage the nation’s brightest scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to develop breakthrough energy storage.