© alexander fediachov Business | July 24, 2013

IntelliBat research project aims to enhance battery performance

The intelligent networking of energy storage systems, electric vehicles and battery powered machines could make an important contribution to easing the burden on and stabilization of our power grids in just a few years' time.
A fundamental requirement towards the further expansion of electromobility and the system-wide, bidirectional use of existing electrochemical storage systems is, however, the availability of modular battery systems that communicate with each other. However, several obstacles still have to be overcome before then. For example, today’s battery systems are frequently not at all or only with a great deal of effort expandable with some additional cells or modules as required.

Furthermore, the cells contained in a battery can have production-related, different capacities which drift apart over time. Since the end of a charge process is determined by the capacity of the weakest cell, the actually existing overall capacity of the battery can, therefore, frequently not be used fully.

Experts from BMZ GmbH, European system provider for battery packs, Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG, Neutron Mikroelektronik GmbH and the Institute for Power Electronic Systems (ELSYS) of the University of Applied Sciences Nuremberg expect that the problems described above can now be solved in the foreseeable future with a new approach to the control technology.

The goal of the IntelliBat joint research project — with funding of €2.6 million from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) — is the development and realization of modular battery systems using individually controlled cells that communicate with each other. Such systems based on an active charge balance between the individual cells can be expanded with further cells at any time as required.

Since each cell would be charged separately until reaching its respective maximum capacity, the individual components used may even differ with regard to cell chemistry, age and capacity without meaning that this would result in larger losses in the entire performance.

The four partners in the research project expect that, in three years’ time, it will already be possible to present the first fully functional modular IntelliBat battery system in an electrically powered vehicle. Thanks to bidirectional communication with the energy supplier this demonstrator, which at the same time serves as mobile energy storage, will also be able to feed back electrical energy into the power grid.


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