News Release: NREL Supports Industry to Develop Computer-Aided Engineering Tools for Car Batteries

July 7, 2011 | By Heather Lammers | Contact media relations

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently awarded three industry teams, after a competitive procurement process, a total of $7 million for the development of computer-aided software design tools to help produce the next generation of electric drive vehicle (EDV) batteries.

These projects support DOE’s Computer-Aided Engineering for Electric Drive Vehicle Batteries (CAEBAT) program. The objective is to help the automotive and battery industries design and develop a wide array of advanced EDV batteries more quickly, resulting in less expensive batteries.

EDVs — hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and electric vehicles — have the potential to significantly reduce petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Project goals for the selected teams include:

  • Developing battery engineering tools to design cells and battery packs
  • Shortening the battery prototyping and manufacturing processes
  • Improving overall battery performance, safety, and battery life
  • Reducing battery costs.

Each team will independently develop and validate computer-aided engineering tools, with an emphasis on electrochemical, electrical, mechanical, and thermal issues. They also will integrate different chemistries, cell geometries, and battery pack configurations. NREL anticipates that the resulting systems will become competitive marketplace offerings in the near term. The three industry teams working with NREL are:

  • EC Power, Penn State University, Johnson Controls, Inc., and Ford
  • General Motors, ANSYS, and ESim
  • CD-adapco, Battery Design LLC, A123 Systems, and Johnson Controls-Saft.

Selected teams will contribute 50 percent of the costs of the project over the next three years bringing the overall project budget to $14 million. In addition to funding, NREL will provide technical support on battery electrochemical –thermal modeling and testing to the teams.

This activity is funded by DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Program at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

NREL is the Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.


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