Battery Systems Engineering

Background

Batteries are the power source of choice for many applications, from small scale such as mobile phones to larger scale such as electric vehicles and grid energy storage. For each application, it is required to adequetly engineer the battery system by e.g., considering the choice of battery chemistry, battery assembly in modules/packs, battery layout, thermal management, cycle life, cost minimization, etc.

 

Engineering an efficient battery system is an objective we are interested to achieve, through our research. 

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Theme1:
Thermal Management of Lithium-ion Battery Packs

Batteries usually rise in temperature during their operation. There is a Joule heating associated with the flow of current inside the battery besides the heat generated from the interfacial electrochemical reactions at battery electrodes. From time to time, we hear about some accidents that alarm us about the safety hazards of LIBs. For instance, the call of Samsung note 7, the grounding of the Boeing Dreamliner 787, etc.

One common approach to alleviate the safety concerns of LIBs is to use thermal management systems (TMS) so that the battery temperature can be kept at the desired level. Such TMS can be based on liquid cooling, air cooling, phase change materials, or heat pipes.

TMS are bulky and require significant space to be accommodated. From an energy density perspective, such space could be utilized to pack more LIBs (e.g. in EVs’ battery packs). On the other hand, the more LIB we pack, the more heat that will be liberated, and the more severe becomes the safety hazard. This means bulkier TMS needs to be used. Indeed, there is a challenging compromise between increasing the energy density and the safety of batteries. Thus, an optimal design of thermal management systems is always needed.

Project#1: Development of an Air-Cooled BTMS

The objective of this project was to assess the influence of active cooling, using air, on the performance of a lithium-ion battery module. A module was composed of 24 batteries, 18650 form factor, and was assembled as 4S6P, in an aligned arrangement. The optimal spacing between the batteries, and between the batteries and module walls was defined based on FEM simulations. An experimental setup was built and the influence of active cooling was assessed. A comparison between the experimental and theoretical results has been done. This project was funded by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, Egypt, under the initiative "Bedayty" for supporting graduation projects.

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Selected Publications:

[1] Effat, M.B., Wu, C. and Ciucci, F., 2016. Modeling efforts in the key areas of thermal management and safety of lithium ion battery cells: a mini review. Asia‐Pacific Journal of Chemical Engineering, 11(3), pp.399-406. [link]