Under an exclusive licensing agreement, Dynexus Technology will commercialize INL’s embedded wideband impedance technology for analyzing and forecasting the health, aging and safety characteristics of advanced energy storage devices. The 2011 R&D 100 Award-winning Impedance Measurement Box (IMB) was invented by INL’s Energy Storage Group in Idaho Falls, Idaho, with support from the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office.
Dynexus, headquartered in Colorado, develops products and services that connect advanced sensor-based enterprise data with decision makers to improve access to embedded intelligence. The wideband impedance technique developed at INL delivers in-depth diagnostic insights not previously available outside the battery research lab, providing tremendous value for safer and more cost-effective commercial implementation of advanced energy storage technologies.
The whole purpose of the work is to understand the bounds of safety and performance as the battery ages. This allows informed decisions about the state of health and battery life.—Eric Dufek, INL’s energy storage group lead
The dependability of energy storage devices, mainly batteries, is becoming increasingly important to consumers, industry and the military. As battery end-user expectations increase and the consequences of battery failures become more pronounced, there is a pressing need for timely insights about battery health to ensure predictable performance, personal safety and reduction of waste. INL’s broad-spectrum impedance technology enables embedded continuous monitoring of a battery’s health and remaining life throughout the entire course of its life cycle.
Conventional embedded monitoring of batteries has relied on passive measurements of voltage, current and temperature, or on impedance methods that can take as long as 10 minutes. INL’s IMB can generate the necessary data in 10 to 15 seconds. Impedance (the effective resistance of a circuit or component to current) is a key performance measurement that correlates with more complex parameters, such as resistance and power capability.
The IMB—a combined hardware and software control unit—uses five steps to obtain the impedance spectrum measurement results. An input signal is generated that consists of sinusoids, which are strategically separated by a known frequency spread and summed together. This combined signal is injected into the energy storage device. The response is then captured by a data acquisition system for the final steps: data processing and analysis, and display.
The latest development of the IMB is a third-generation device, able to assess a 50-volt system, making it applicable for testing on battery modules (which contain multiple cells).
From an environmental standpoint, the INL technology could help find new uses for EV batteries after their capacity fades beyond acceptable power and range performance, usually defined as below 80% of initial capacity.
This technology could help assess the resale value of a used electric vehicle, or provide remaining life and safety insights for repurposing those batteries into secondary applications. Monitoring battery health and remaining life will help ensure the safety and reliability of repurposed batteries, and will strengthen their viability, insurability and marketability.—David Sorum, Dynexus president and CEO
Although embedded wideband impedance evolved from INL’s participation in automotive battery research and development, Dynexus Technology will explore commercial applications across a broad range of markets, from EVs to drones, from utility energy storage to telecommunications, and from medical devices to military systems. In all cases, the wideband impedance technique delivers operational data not previously available outside a laboratory setting.
The technology has the potential to add value at all levels across the battery value chain. It’s like having an onboard “smart meter” for your electric vehicle battery, providing the owner and the dealership with immediate and easily accessible factual information about battery health throughout its useful life.—David Lung, Dynexus chief technology officer