State College, PA: 8 July 2011. EC Power LLC has been selected to be the recipient of a major Department of Energy/National Renewable Energy Laboratory contract for development of its breakthrough, automotive lithium ion (Li-ion) battery design tool. The innovative software will play a major role in accelerating the time frame for development and application of Li-ion batteries in the automobile industry.
The accelerated development of hybrid electric, electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (HEV, EV, and PHEV) is extremely important for the United States to move towards energy independence and curb greenhouse gas emissions. The use of Li-ion batteries and battery packs in these vehicles is a critical step in this process, but presents a unique set of challenges that are not as appreciable in applications such as cell phones and laptops. For example, in automotive applications the large-format of the cell and the high rates of charge and discharge lead to significant temperature non-uniformity in the batteries and packs. In turn, this temperature non-uniformity causes severe issues, including poor battery performance, shorter battery life, potential safety issues, and the inability to fully utilize the active material in the battery. These technical hurdles ultimately lead to current automotive batteries that are larger, heavier, and pricier than necessary. To compound the problem, the design, build, and testing of batteries and packs is extremely time consuming and expensive.
EC Power’s revolutionary software directly addresses both the technical design and engineering (design, build, test) issues. Many of the technical characteristics critically important to good battery performance are difficult or impossible to measure experimentally. However, these characteristics are easily analyzed using EC Power’s proprietary software. These tools will be invaluable for the design engineer, allowing him or her to design large-format cells and packs with up to 100% improvement in energy density and 10-fold improvement in cycle life. Additionally, the digital design environment will facilitate a significantly cheaper and shorter battery and pack design-build-test cycle. Along with our partners, Penn State University, Johnson Controls, and Ford, EC Power will develop and incorporate into the software, an extensive materials database, and further rigorously validate the simulation results with real-world experimental data. This collaboration will ensure that the developed software becomes an irreplaceable tool for automobile and battery manufacturers alike.
For further information on the NREL program, see the following Web page: http://www.nrel.gov/news/press/2011/1472.html.