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NETZSCH Instruments North America LLC and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently announced a joint collaboration to develop an instrument designed to test the performance and safety of large-format Li-ion batteries (LFLIB). The batteries are used in electric vehicles, airplanes, and military applications, as well as stationary power backup and storage applications. The instrumentation will reportedly be able to safely and accurately characterize heat output and efficiency of LFLIBs, in varying temperature, pressure, load and use conditions, providing precise and critical information previously unavailable. Temperature can have a strong impact on the performance, safety and life of batteries; therefore, understanding and control of temperature is necessary to operate lithium ion batteries, particularly for electric-drive vehicles that are critical for reduced dependence on imported oil and air pollution.
The new instrument is an isothermal calorimeter, a device that measures heat, and is based on technology developed by a team of NREL researchers. “We saw a real gap in the marketplace for accurate testing of the larger battery systems,” said Gilles Widawski, Ph.D., president of NETZSCH North America LLC. “It was obvious that NREL’s technology, missing in the marketplace, could provide improved information on battery performance and safe system integration key for success in these growing application areas.”
With better measurement of the heat signatures for LFLIBs, researchers can better understand how to enhance the chemistry to improve battery performance and lifetime, and to make them inherently safer using improved materials and chemistries.