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Battery Lifetime Analysis and Simulation Tool Suite

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries used in EVs and stationary energy storage applications must be optimized to justify their high upfront costs.

Given that batteries degrade with use and storage, strategies for optimization must factor in many years of use with a number of variables, including:

  • Temperature
  • State-of-charge histories
  • Electricity current levels
  • Cycle depth and frequency.

These factors can all affect rates of battery degradation, making it important to model both the battery and its application in detail to accurately predict longevity. NREL's Battery Lifetime Analysis and Simulation Tool (BLAST) suite answers this need by using a combination of advanced models of batteries, the systems they operate in, and their interaction with users and the environment.  This enables highly realistic technical comparisons of different battery-use strategies to predict long-term performance in electric vehicle (EV) and stationary energy storage applications.

A screenshot of the BLAST-BTM Lite graphical user interface showing buttons for hardware, demand, photovoltaic, and rate structure options, an input for internal rate of return investment term, and a plot of selected photovoltaic, load, and net demand data for the year.

The free BLAST-BTM Lite tool download identifies cost-optimal energy storage solutions for behind-the-meter applications.

BLAST Tools

The BLAST suite of tools pairs NREL's high-fidelity battery degradation model with electrical and thermal performance models specific to batteries and larger application systems. It can also be paired with NREL's Battery Ownership Model (BOM) to evaluate lifetime battery costs in conjunction with performance and longevity.

Behind-the-Meter Applications

BLAST for Behind-the-Meter Applications (BLAST BTM-Lite) provides a quick, user-friendly tool to size behind-the-meter energy storage devices used on site by utility customers for facility demand charge management. It is free to download and use.

Vehicle Applications

Researchers can use BLAST for Vehicle Applications (BLAST-V) to evaluate the longevity and performance of batteries for EVs, including hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The tool combines year-long travel histories of more than 300 drivers with travel routing logic, enabling evaluation of vehicle and battery responses to the deployment charging infrastructure. This includes fast chargers, electrified roadway networks, and battery swapping stations.

NREL and its partners have used BLAST-V to:

  • Identify the demands that fast-charging places on BEV batteries and possible improvements to vehicle utility under realistic conditions
  • Evaluate home, public, and workplace charging in relation to vehicle utility and battery life
  • Quantify effects of climate and vehicle and battery thermal management on vehicle utility and battery life.

Results of these BLAST-V simulations can be paired with NREL's BOM to assess the economic and greenhouse gas impacts of different EV scenarios.

An illustrated graphic showing thermal pathways between the environment, vehicle cabin, and battery.

Lumped capacitance thermal model for vehicular applications in BLAST.

Stationary Applications

BLAST for Stationary Applications (BLAST-S) makes it possible to evaluate the longevity and performance of energy storage in stationary applications. Users can enter their own battery duty cycles for direct simulation to evaluate the impacts of different battery sizes, thermal configurations, climates, etc. This approach has been used to study Li-ion battery degradation and longevity in community energy storage (CES) applications.

Alternatively, users can apply NREL's optimal peak-shaving control algorithm to a load profile—e.g., buildings, transformers, or substations—for simulations of specified batteries. This pathway has been employed to evaluate the effectiveness of batteries in providing commercial facility demand charge mitigation.

Publications

Learn more about NREL's battery longevity-performance modeling in these publications.

Contact

For more information on NREL's battery longevity-performance modeling and BLAST activities, contact Eric Wood, 303-275-3290.