Dynamic Cell-Level Control for Battery Packs
Utah State University (USU) is developing electronic hardware and control software to create an advanced battery management system that actively maximizes the performance of each cell in a battery pack. No two battery cells are alike—they differ over their life-times in terms of charge and discharge rates, capacity, and temperature characteristics, among other things. Traditionally, these issues have been managed by matching similarly performing cells at the factory level and conservative design and operation of battery packs, but this is an incomplete solution, leading to costly batching of cells and overdesign of battery packs. USU’s flexible, modular, cost-effective design would represent a dramatic departure from today’s systems, offering dynamic control at the cell-level to their physical limits and side stepping existing issues regarding the mismatch and uncertainty of battery cells throughout their useful life.
If successful, USU’s dynamic, cell-level control system would substantially reduce electric vehicle battery pack cost by increasing the system-level tolerance to mismatched cells, which could facilitate greater electric, hybrid-electric, and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle adoption by consumers.
Advances in energy storage management could reduce the cost and increase the adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy storage technologies, which in turn would reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of energy.
Improving the reliability and safety of electric vehicles and renewable energy storage facilities would enable more widespread use of these technologies, resulting in a substantial reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Enabling alternatives to conventional sources of energy could insulate consumers, businesses, and utilities from unexpected price swings.