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Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices

The projects that comprise ARPA-E's AMPED Program, short for "Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices," seek to develop advanced sensing, control, and power management technologies that redefine the way we think about battery management. Energy storage can significantly improve U.S. energy independence, efficiency, and security by enabling a new generation of electric vehicles. While rapid progress is being made in new battery materials and storage technologies, few innovations have emerged in the management of advanced battery systems. AMPED aims to unlock enormous untapped potential in the performance, safety, and lifetime of today's commercial battery systems exclusively through system-level innovations, and is thus distinct from existing efforts to enhance underlying battery materials and architectures.
For a detailed technical overview about this program, please click here.  

Battelle Memorial Institute

Battery Fault Sensing in Operating Batteries

Battelle Memorial Institute is developing an optical sensor to monitor the internal environment of lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries in real-time. Over time, crystalline structures known as dendrites can form within batteries and cause a short circuiting of the battery's electrodes. Because faults can originate in even the tiniest places within a battery, they are hard to detect with traditional sensors. Battelle is exploring a new, transformational method for continuous monitoring of operating Li-Ion batteries. Their optical sensors detect internal faults well before they can lead to battery failures or safety problems. The Battelle team will modify a conventional battery component to scan the cell's interior, watching for internal faults to develop and alerting the battery management system to take corrective action before a hazardous condition occurs.

Det Norske Veritas (U.S.A)

Sensor-Enhanced and Model-Validated Batteries for Energy Storage

Det Norske Veritas (DNV KEMA) is testing a new gas monitoring system developed by NexTech Materials to provide early warning signals that a battery is operating under stressful conditions and at risk of premature failure. As batteries degrade, they emit low level quantities of gas that can be measured over the course of a battery's life-time. DNV KEMA is working with NexTech to develop technology to accurately measure these gas emissions. By taking accurate stock of gas emissions within the battery pack, the monitoring method could help battery management systems predict when a battery is likely to fail. Advanced prediction models could work alongside more traditional models to optimize the performance of electrical energy storage systems going forward. In the final phase of the project, DNV KEMA will build a demonstration in a community energy storage system with Beckett Energy Systems.

Eaton Corporation

Predictive Battery Management for Commercial Hybrid Vehicles

Eaton is developing advanced battery and vehicle systems models that will enable fast, accurate estimation of battery health and remaining life. The batteries used in hybrid vehicles are highly complex and require advanced management systems to maximize their performance. Eaton's battery models will be coupled with hybrid powertrain control and power management systems of the vehicle enabling a broader, more comprehensive vehicle management system for better optimization of battery life and fuel economy. Their design would reduce the sticker price of commercial hybrid vehicles, making them cost-competitive with non-hybrid vehicles.

Feasible, Inc.

Electrochemical-Acoustic Signal Interrogation Analysis of Batteries

Feasible will develop a non-invasive, low-cost, ultrasonic diagnostic system that links the electrochemical reactions taking place inside a battery with changes in how sound waves propagate through the battery. This Electrochemical Acoustic Signal Interrogation (EASI) analysis will bridge the gap in battery diagnostics between structural insights and electrical measurements, offering both speed and scalability. The physical processes of a battery that affect performance are nearly impossible to monitor with standard diagnostic methods. EASI can provide insights into the battery development, manufacturing, and management life cycle. This capability is enabled by acoustic analysis, which is a fundamentally new tool in its application to batteries, and will aid cell design and development, improve manufacturing quality and yield thereby decreasing cost, and decrease inefficiencies in battery utilization and system design. During a prior ARPA-E IDEAS award, Princeton University developed the proof of concept for this technology that linked the propagation of sound waves through a battery to the state of the material components within the battery. Now, as Feasible Inc., the team will further the development of their sensing techniques and build a database of acoustic signatures for different battery chemistries, form factors, and use conditions. If successful, this ultrasonic diagnostic system will lead to improved battery quality, safety, and performance of electric vehicle and grid energy storage systems via two avenues: (1) more thorough and efficient cell screening during production, and (2) physically relevant information to better inform battery management strategies.

Ford Motor Company

High-Precision Tester for Automotive and Stationary Batteries

Ford Motor Company is developing a commercially viable battery tester with measurement precision that is significantly better than today's best battery testers. Improvements in the predictive ability of battery testers would enable significant reductions in the time and expense involved in electric vehicle technology validation. Unfortunately, the instrumental precision required to reliably predict performance of batteries after thousands of charge and discharge cycles does not exist in today's commercial systems. Ford's design would dramatically improve the precision of electric vehicle battery testing equipment, which would reduce the time and expense required in the research, development, and qualification testing of new automotive and stationary batteries.

Gayle Technologies, Inc.

State-of-Health by Ultrasonic Battery Monitoring with In-Service Testing (SUBMIT)

Gayle Technologies is developing a laser-guided, ultrasonic electric vehicle battery inspection system that would help gather precise diagnostic data on battery performance. The batteries used in hybrid vehicles are highly complex, requiring advanced management systems to maximize their performance. Gayle's laser-guided, ultrasonic system would allow for diagnosis of various aspects of the battery system, including inspection for defects during manufacturing and assembly, battery state-of-health, and flaws that develop from mechanical or chemical issues with the battery system during use. Because of its non-invasive nature, relatively low cost, and potential for yielding broad information content, this innovative technology could increase productivity in battery manufacturing and better monitor battery conditions during use or service.

General Electric

Control Enabling Solutions with Ultrathin Strain and Temperature Sensor System for Reduced Battery Life Cycle Cost

General Electric (GE) Global Research is developing low-cost, thin-film sensors that enable real-time mapping of temperature and surface pressure for each cell within a battery pack, which could help predict how and when batteries begin to fail. The thermal sensors within today's best battery packs are thick, expensive, and incapable of precisely assessing important factors like temperature and pressure within their cells. In comparison to today's best systems, GE's design would provide temperature and pressure measurements using smaller, more affordable sensors than those used in today's measurement systems. Ultimately, GE's sensors could dramatically improve the thermal mapping and pressure measurement capabilities of battery management systems, allowing for better prediction of potential battery failures.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Battery Management System with Distributed Wireless Sensors

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is developing a wireless sensor system to improve the safety and reliability of lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery systems by monitoring key operating parameters of Li-Ion cells and battery packs. This system can be used to control battery operation and provide early indicators of battery failure. LLNL's design will monitor every cell within a large Li-Ion battery pack without the need for large bundles of cables to carry sensor signals to the battery management system. This wireless sensor network will dramatically reduce system cost, improve operational performance, and detect battery pack failures in real time, enabling a path to cheaper, better, and safer large-scale batteries.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Temperature Self-Regulation for Large-Format Li-Ion cells

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is developing an innovative battery design to more effectively regulate destructive isolated hot-spots that develop within a battery during use and eventually lead to degradation of the cells. Today's batteries are not fully equipped to monitor and regulate internal temperatures, which can negatively impact battery performance, life-time, and safety. ORNL's design would integrate efficient temperature control at each layer inside lithium ion (Li-Ion) battery cells. In addition to monitoring temperatures, the design would provide active cooling and temperature control deep within the cell, which would represent a dramatic improvement over today's systems, which tend to cool only the surface of the cells. The elimination of cell surface cooling and achievement of internal temperature regulation would have significant impact on battery performance, life-time, and safety.

Palo Alto Research Center

Smart Embedded Network of Sensors with Optical Readout (SENSOR)

Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) is developing new fiber optic sensors that would be embedded into batteries to monitor and measure key internal parameters during charge and discharge cycles. Two significant problems with today's best batteries are their lack of internal monitoring capabilities and their design oversizing. The lack of monitoring interferes with the ability to identify and manage performance or safety issues as they arise, which are presently managed by very conservative design oversizing and protection approaches that result in cost inefficiencies. PARC's design combines low-cost, embedded optical battery sensors and smart algorithms to overcome challenges faced by today's best battery management systems. These advanced fiber optic sensing technologies have the potential to dramatically improve the safety, performance, and life-time of energy storage systems.

Pennsylvania State University

A Multi-Purpose, Intelligent, and Reconfigurable Battery Pack Health Management System

Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) is developing an innovative, reconfigurable design for electric vehicle battery packs that can re-route power in real time between individual cells. Much like how most cars carry a spare tire in the event of a blowout, today's battery packs contain extra capacity to continue supplying power, managing current, and maintaining capacity as cells age and degrade. Some batteries carry more than 4 times the capacity needed to maintain operation, or the equivalent of mounting 16 tires on a vehicle in the event that one tire goes flat. This overdesign is expensive and inefficient. Penn State's design involves unique methods of electrical reconfigurability to enable the battery pack to switch out cells as they age and weaken. The system would also contain control hardware elements to monitor and manage power across cells, identify damaged cells, and signal the need to switch them out of the circuit.

Robert Bosch, LLC

Advanced Battery Management System

Robert Bosch is developing battery monitoring and control software to improve the capacity, safety, and charge rate of electric vehicle batteries. Conventional methods for preventing premature aging and failures in electric vehicle batteries involve expensive and heavy overdesign of the battery and tend to result in inefficient use of available battery capacity. Bosch would increase usable capacity and enhance charging rates by improving the ability to estimate battery health in real-time, to predict and manage the impact of charge and discharge cycles on battery health, and to minimize battery degradation.

Southwest Research Institute

Novel SOC and SOH Estimation Through Sensor Technology

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is developing a battery management system to track the performance characteristics of lithium-ion batteries during charge and discharge cycles to help analyze battery capacity and health. 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. In SwRI's design, a number of strain gauges would be strategically placed on the cells to monitor their state of charges and overall health during operation. This could help reduce the risk of batteries being over-charged and over-discharged. This novel sensing technique should allow the battery to operate within safe limits and prolong its cycle life. SwRI is working to develop complex algorithms and advanced circuitry to help demonstrate the potential of these sensing technologies at the battery-pack level.

University of Washington

Optimal Operation and Management of Batteries Based on Real-Time Predictive Modeling and Adaptive Battery Management Techniques

University of Washington (UW) is developing a predictive battery management system that uses innovative modeling software to manage how batteries are charged and discharged, helping to optimize battery use. A significant problem with today's battery packs is their lack of internal monitoring capabilities, which interferes with our ability to identify and manage performance issues as they arise. UW's system would predict the physical states internal to batteries quickly and accurately enough for the data to be used in making decisions about how to control the battery to optimize its output and efficiency in real time. UW's models could be able to predict temperature, remaining energy capacity, and progress of unwanted reactions that reduce the battery lifetime.

Utah State University

Robust Cell-level Modeling and Control of Large 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.

An overview presentation about ARPA-E's AMPED program. AMPED projects seek to develop advanced sensing, control, and power management technologies that redefine the way we think about battery management. Energy storage can significantly improve U.S. energy independence, efficiency, and security by enabling a new generation of electric vehicles. While rapid progress is being made in new battery materials and storage technologies, few innovations have emerged in the management of advanced battery systems. AMPED aims to unlock enormous untapped potential in the performance, safety, and lifetime of today's commercial battery systems exclusively through system-level innovations, and is thus distinct from existing efforts to enhance underlying battery materials and architectures.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is one of the largest consumers of energy in the world—accounting for 1% of U.S. energy consumption. Given this impressive demand, the department actively pursues energy technologies to make the way it trains, moves and sustains U.S. forces more energy efficient and resilient. Because ARPA-E funds innovative new energy technologies, DoD can be a natural hand-off partner for ARPA-E teams seeking to further their technology. Featuring remarks from ARPA-E’s Dr. Ryan Umstattd, this video highlights two ARPA-E projects that have formed strategic partnerships with the military to improve mission readiness and enhance operational capability. Texas A&M University is partnering with the Navy to develop a membrane technology to dehumidify cargo spaces in ships where moisture can cause damage. Nexceris is collaborating with the Navy to develop an off-gas sensor for lithium-ion batteries that can detect and warn of an impending battery failure, keeping equipment and personnel onboard Naval vessels safe.

POWER Magazine interviewed ARPA-E awardees from PARC about their project to develop a fiber optic monitoring system that could provide detailed information about the internal condition of batteries. The approach would have potential application to a variety of battery and other technologies, including wind turbine blades, generators, and engines. Video by Power Magazine Managing Editor Gail Reitenbach. Recorded at ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, Feb. 26, 2013.
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