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Lithium-Ion Batteries

Predictive computer models for lithium-ion battery performance under standard and potentially abusive conditions

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Design. Build. Test. Break. Repeat. Developing batteries is an expensive and time-intensive process. Testing costs the automotive industry an estimated $1 million for every 50 battery cycling channels, with additional costs for designing and building prototypes totaling millions of dollars. To reduce this process and associated costs, scientists at NREL have designed computer models to predict thermal, electrical, and electrochemical battery performance. These models are so advanced they can simulate three-dimensional regions of temperature, cell behavior under internal short circuits, and interactions between cells within a battery pack. By accurately simulating battery performance, developers can optimize their designs for improved battery life, performance, cost, and safety, thus building prototypes for only the best designs. These lithium-ion battery design tools, which can be embedded in vehicle systems simulators, outperform current automotive industry models with respect to speed and accuracy. Additionally, the software can be run on standard desktops instead of supercomputers. These advantages are necessary for continuing battery improvements in hybrid and electric vehicles.


1. Electrochemical Lithium-Ion Battery Performance Model:
This model predicts the thermal, electrical, and electrochemical performance of lithium-ion batteries. By analyzing these physical phenomena, this tool helps developers design batteries that maximize their value and longevity.

2. Multi-Scale Multi-Dimensional Lithium-Ion Battery Performance Model:
Based on the above electrochemical model, this additional functionality takes into account three-dimensional temperature geometries. Understanding the impact of hot and cold domains on ion transport within the battery can lead to significant improvements in battery thermal design.

3. Three Dimensional Thermal Runaway Reaction Model for Lithium-Ion Batteries:
Batteries react negatively to high temperatures. Overheating, short circuits, or other manufacturing defects can cause thermal runaway leading to smoke or fire. This model simulates battery behavior under such conditions in order to allow developers to evaluate their designs to improve the safety of their batteries.

4. Electrical Thermal Network Model for Multi-Cell Lithium-Ion Battery:
Battery packs are often made up of a number of cells in series whose complex interactions affect the battery’s life and performance. This model takes into account cell characteristics, geometrical pack design, and electrical load conditions to maintain voltage, current, and temperature uniformity across the entire battery pack.

  • Reduce lithium-ion battery development costs by optimizing battery designs and decreasing the number of prototypes built
  • Faster and more accurate than currently available models
  • Can be run on standard desktop computers
Applications and Industries
  • Lithium-ion battery development
  • Lithium-ion battery pack integration and management systems
  • Electric vehicle development
  • Hybrid electric vehicle development
More Information

These Li-ion battery models are copyrighted and owned by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
SWR: 09-22; 09-21; 09-24; 09-23Prototype - Algorithm development and coding are complete. Ongoing improvements include developing the code to function as a real-time control system, and implementing a friendly user interface.Available - Please contact the NREL Commercialization and Technology Transfer Office for information concerning a license to use the software, or a partnership to further develop it. 07/09/201007/28/2010

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To: Jean Schulte<>