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ANSYS Fluent now includes Li-ion battery models; ANSYS, GM, NREL, ESim CAEBAT project

ANSYS Fluent software—a leading, fully featured fluid dynamics solution for modeling flow and other related physical phenomena—now includes as standard Li-ion battery models, due to the efforts of ANSYS, GM, the Energy Department’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and ESim.

Over the last two and half years, the team worked on a DOE-funded project, Computer-Aided Engineering for Electric Drive Vehicle Batteries (CAEBAT) (earlier post), to combine new and existing battery models into engineering simulation software to shorten design cycles and optimize batteries for increased performance, safety and lifespan.

In 2011, NREL awarded $7 million to 3 projects supporting CAEBAT; in addition to the ANSYS team, the others were EC Power, Penn State University, Johnson Controls, Inc., and Ford; and CD-adapco, Battery Design LLC, A123 Systems, and Johnson Controls-Saft.
The objective of CAEBAT is to incorporate existing and new models into design suites/tools with the goal of shortening design cycles and optimizing batteries (cells and packs) for improved performance, safety, long life, and low cost.
The software suite is to include material properties; electrode design; pack design for thermal management purposes; load profiles; and aging data as input.
Project goals for the selected teams included:
  • Developing battery engineering tools to design cells and battery packs;
  • Shortening the battery prototyping and manufacturing processes;
  • Improving overall battery performance, safety, and battery life; and
  • Reducing battery costs.

The team is modeling thermal management, electrochemistry, ion transport and fluid flow. As a result of the work, a battery model is now standard in ANSYS Fluent. This seamless Fluent capability helps battery developers break the time-consuming cycle of design-build-test-break for prototyping and manufacturing.

The emphasis in the software integration has been to provide a flexible array of modeling choices that can support several categories of battery researchers, cell manufacturers, pack integrators and vehicle manufacturers that deliver fast and accurate results. With a concise plan for rapid deployment to the industry, the software solutions created through this project are already helping designers and engineers at GM to accelerate the pace of battery innovation and development for future electric-drive vehicles.

—Jan Aase, director of vehicle systems research lab at GM

By drawing on a novel approach pioneered at NREL, collaborators integrated disparate physical battery scales (electrodes, cell, pack and full vehicle) and multiple physical phenomena (electrochemical, thermal, fluid and structural)—factors that have been a key barrier for effective simulation.

In addition, the team blended established detailed 3-D field simulation technologies with systems-level simulation. They also extended the reach of the technology by ensuring that these new tools can interact with current and future battery models.

ANSYS is well known for providing reliable simulation technology to enable sustainable design across a wide range of industries, including automotive. The CAEBAT project has been a great opportunity for ANSYS. We are partnering with other recognized leaders in EV battery technology to develop and deliver powerful modeling tools that can be used by all battery manufacturers to accelerate production of safe, reliable, high-performance and long-lasting EV batteries that make vehicles more fuel-efficient and sustainable.

— Sandeep Sovani, director of global automotive industry at ANSYS

Throughout the remainder of 2014, the team will refine automation techniques for battery cell and pack-level simulations and continue to validate the models with experiments. Collaborators plan to implement cycle-life and abuse (such as overheating) models. NREL’s multi-particle model, with ability to model mixture of active materials with different particle sized, will be incorporated as well.

At the pack level, state-of-the-art simulation is further advanced by developing innovative reduced-order models, derived and calibrated from the cell-level models and carefully validated through experiments—all designed to enable a balance between model fidelity and computational cost. These efforts contribute to the development of a complete battery cell and pack-level design tools that will be available in the future product releases.

GM awarded ANSYS a subcontract to create battery software tools that will help accelerate development of next-generation EV batteries. This US DOE-funded project is a result of a competitive procurement through NREL that was presented to GM in 2011.

This activity is part of the DOE EV Everywhere Grand Challenge managed by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.


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