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Research project: Battery Characterisation and Management - the key to Smart Grids and the Integration of Electric Vehicles

Currently Active: 

July 2013 – December 2016

Concurrently, plans to clean up emissions from the transport sectors are leading to ambitious plans to expand the use of electric vehicles which will both challenge the electricity system due to the substantial need for battery charging, but also provide opportunity as these batteries can be used to provide energy storage.

The dual use of such vehicle energy storage (to provide its core vehicle transportation duty and grid support when connected to the network for recharging) is referred to as Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) operation. In other words, V2G encompasses the aggregated use of battery elements on all electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EVs) as a grid scale electrical energy store. V2G has many technical challenges to overcome as well as requiring careful cost benefit analysis of the effect of increased charge/discharge cycling of the battery, and associated degradation, versus the grid support benefits achieved.

Towards 2050 a significant proportion (>30%) of the UK vehicle fleet of 33.3 million vehicles will likely incorporate sizeable on-board battery capacity (e.g. a 10kWh battery capacity with 3kW V2G charger). With V2G enabled battery chargers permitting bi-directional energy transfer, this would enable very fast acting (<5 sec), low cost (€22/kW), aggregated battery energy storage of some 30GW/100GWh capacity; a scale permitting grid level functionality such as frequency support, ‘firming’ renewable generation, managing the effects of high renewable generation output and load levelling with the potential to make a significant contribution to help keep the electricity networks within operational limits at a local and regional level.

The key aims of this research project are listed below:

  • Determining the anticipated patterns of battery cycling associated with driving and V2G operation for specified grid support functions e.g. frequency support, peak shaving etc.
  • Investigating the impact of the anticipated V2G operation on battery cell, module and pack cycle life, failures and thermal behaviour (i.e. thermal cycling and impact on cold/hot battery charging behaviour). Additionally more accurate determination of battery SoC and state of health (SoH) is required, including ensuring cell balance within the battery pack.
  • Investigating the communication and control temporal and physical information requirements from the battery management system (BMS) to the grid control system and vice versa.
  • Demonstrating V2G operation within distinct UK and Chinese environments, employing the new BMS software with cycling/thermal control, and improved SoC/SoH prediction.

Associated research themes

Main project webpage:

Battery Characterisation and Management - the key to Smart Grids and the Integration of Electric Vehicles

Associated project:

Vehicle Electrical Systems Integration (VESI)

Related research groups

Energy Technology
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