Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics are developing software that simulates lithium-ion batteries in order to speed up testing of the technology. The new software is being called the Battery and Electrochemistry Simulation Tool (BEST), and is part of the Fraunhofer System Research for Electromobility (FSEM).
Lithium batteries operate using two porous electrodes kept apart by a separator filled with electrolyte, and the lithium ions flow between the electrodes when the battery is charged. Battery performance, according to a scientist from the project, depends on the materials used, and that various materials can be tested within the software to find an optimized mixture. The hope is that fewer, and potentially more costly, physical trial and error methods will need to be performed.
The researchers have been able to simulate both macro and microscopic levels of an entire battery cell, including the transportation and reaction process of the ions, claiming they can show the structure of electrodes at a measurement of 10 micrometers, or 0.0004 inches. Viewing the process at such a concentrated level, the team can note lithium ion concentrations, density levels, and using the software, can pinpoint hot spots based on current flow that can affect the life of the battery.
Germany expects 1 million electric passenger cars will be on the road in the country by 2020, and that a third of drivers want a range of over 300 miles in their vehicle. The studies being conducted at Fraunhofer ITMW are banking that the data collected will improve battery life, acceleration, and efficiency. The researchers are currently working to upgrade the software to including aging models, which will improve real-world accuracy.
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