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Battery Energy Storage Testing for Safe Electric Transport

The Battery Testing Laboratory features state-of-the-art equipped facilities for analysing performance of battery materials and cells.

BESTEST

The Battery Testing Laboratory features state-of-the-art equipped facilities for analysing performance of battery materials and cells.
Anticipating the growing need for robust and impartial research on rechargeable energy storage systems for normative and regulatory purposes, BESTEST has established a facility for:

  1. Battery cell performance testing – cell cycling and performance evaluation under normal, but varying, environmental operating conditions. This facility will include in-situ thermal imaging, electrochemical measurements, cell preparation, pre- and post-test battery cell tear-down and post-mortem diagnosis.

Three further experimental facilities are being developed:

  1. Battery pack/module performance testing – EV battery pack (up to 160 kW) and battery module cycling and performance evaluation under normal, but varying, environmental operating conditions.
  2. Pack performance testing - In-situ X-ray computed tomography - X-ray computed tomography for the 3-dimensional real-time in-situ imaging of processes occurring inside battery modules and packs in a climate chamber during charge-discharge.
  3. Battery cell abuse testing – mechanical, electrical and thermal abuse testing of battery cells including high-speed high definition (HD) video-recording, gas detection/analysis and thermal imaging.

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1. Battery cell performance testing

The laboratory for cell performance testing – with approximately 500 m2 laboratory space – comprises the following equipment:

  • Battery testers – used to charge and discharge battery cells and modules
    • 3 Maccor Bidirectional Battery Testers, 96 channels with various voltage ranges and power. 44 channels are combined with Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscope (EIS).
  • 2 climate chambers: Vötsch VCS3 7060-5 – for performing battery cell cycling experiments under controlled environmental (temperature and relative humidity) conditions.
  • Integrated temperature chamber: BiA MTH 4.46 – 12 identical temperature chambers for performing battery cell cycling experiments under controlled temperature conditions in the range -40°C to +85°C.
  • 3 Glove boxes are used for assembly and disassembly of battery cells under inert conditions and for the examination of sensitive battery materials.
  • Integrated thermal analysis and gas analysis system for battery components testing – used for Simultaneous Thermal Analysis (STA) of battery components and subsequent analysis of the emitted gases by FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy) and GC/MS (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy). This combination of analytical techniques gives a meaningful analysis of the battery components' thermal degradation under controlled conditions (temperature, heating rate, gas environment, etc.).
  • Multichannel potentiostats - for performing electrochemical and impedance experiments on battery cells.
  • Infra-red camera - used for thermal imaging of battery cells during charge and discharge cycles.
  • In-situ and in-operando battery test cells for simultaneous measurement of electrochemical and other behavior of electrodes and materials, e.g. dilation, VIS and IR variation

Further analytical techniques available at the site – such as micro X-ray Computed Tomography (CT), X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) – are also applied to cells and battery materials.

2. Battery pack/module performance testing

Battery pack performance testing - Walk-in climate chamber

A walk-in environmental chamber will be used for testing battery modules and battery packs under controlled environmental conditions. Tests will allow an assessment of any battery module’s or pack’s performance under variable operating conditions and also the change (i.e. degradation) in performance during lifetime (by means of cycling lifetime tests).

Batteries with different chemistries (e.g. Li-ion, solid-state, Li-S, Lead-Acid, NiMH) with a capacity of up to 150 kWh will be investigated, which means, that any current vehicle battery pack could potentially be analysed using as a function of environmental conditions, drive cycle during the primary and secondary lifetime of the pack. For this purpose two battery cyclers will be used:

  1. AVL E-Storage bidirectional tester, maximum voltage 800 V, maximum current 600 A, maximum power 160 kW
  2. Digatron BDBT bidirectional battery tester, maximum voltage 100 V, maximum current 800 A, maximum power 100 kW.

Several safety measures will be implemented to ensure a safe operation of the investigations, such as continuous monitoring of the battery under test, permanent inertisation using nitrogen, IP surveillance camera, O2, CO, hydrocarbons and H2 sensors, pressure relieve valve in the chamber ceiling, fire extinguishing system based on dry sand and/or water.

3. Pack performance testing – In-situ X-ray computed tomography

A newly built large scale unique X-ray computed tomography system for 3-dimensional in-situ imaging of battery modules and packs up to 25 kWh will be used to gain insight into what happens inside a battery module during operation and under varying operating environmental conditions (controlled temperature and relative humidity). Furthermore, it will also be possible to understand changes in internal 3D structure of a battery during battery lifetime. For these in-situ examinations, two battery cyclers will be used:

  1. AVL E-Storage bidirectional tester, maximum voltage 800 V, maximum current 600 A, maximum power 100 kW
  2. Digatron BDBT bidirectional battery tester, maximum voltage 100 V, maximum current 800 A, maximum power 100 kW.

Several safety measures will be implemented to ensure a safe operation of these in-situ investigations, such as continuous monitoring of the battery under test, permanent inertisation using nitrogen, IP surveillance camera, O2, CO, hydrocarbons and H2 sensors, pressure relieve valve, foam-based fire extinguishing system.

4. Battery cell abuse testing

Abuse tests potentially allow the assessment of cell or battery safety under conditions that go beyond normal operation conditions. The main purpose of the abuse testing laboratories is to evaluate – and where necessary to improve – testing methods for abuse tests and to ensure that these tests allow accurate, representative and reproducible assessment of battery safety. Abuse tests will be performed in a separate gas-tight part of the facility consisting of four abuse chambers and an entry room.

Four test chambers will be retrofitted and will be used to perform electrical, mechanical and thermal abuse tests of cells (and batteries) with an energy content up to 450 Wh. These tests will include:

• External and internal short circuit test

• Over-charge and over-discharge test

• Crush test

• Penetration test

• Projectile fire test

Thermal runaway is the most dangerous safety event of Li-ion batteries. It means if the temperature reaches a certain value (onset temperature sometimes as low as 80°C), the battery itself generates enough oxygen and heat to maintain the fire, which may lead to the total abuse of the battery or even a full vehicle. Accelerated rate calorimeters (ARCs) provide controlled conditions to measure the onset temperature, the generated heat and evolved gases in a reproducible way for an adiabatic – and therefore worst-case – scenario. Three ARC systems will be installed to study unwanted safety events from coin cell to module level up to 450Wh energy content.

A dedicated gas analysis system (incl. heated transfer lines, Fourier transform infrared spectrometer and gas chromatograph) will be used to analyse the gases that are emitted during abuse testing. Exhaust gas will be cleaned by an air scrubber system.

Several further safety measures will be implemented to ensure a safe execution of abuse tests (e.g. IP surveillance cameras integrated into the laboratory safety system, access control, gas-tight second containment, high-performance ventilation system, CO, H2 and hydrocarbons sensors.

You can now contact us at the BESTEST functional mailbox: JRC-PTT-BATTERIES@ec.europa.eu.

Related Content

Related publications

Battery Energy Storage Testing
English
(582.7 KB - PDF)
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facility_evs30-5830703.pdf
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(1.38 MB - PDF)
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Lithium ion battery value chain and related opportunities for Europe

Sustainability Assessment of Second Life Application of Automotive Batteries (SASLAB)

Standards for the performance and durability assessment of electric vehicle batteries

EU Competitiveness in Advanced Li-ion Batteries for E-Mobility and Stationary Storage Applications –Opportunities and Actions

Scientific articles

A review of international abuse testing standards and regulations for lithium ion batteries in electric and hybrid electric vehicles

Long-term cycling induced jelly roll deformation in commercial 18650 cells

External short circuit performance of Graphite-LiNi1/3Co1/3Mn1/3O2 and Graphite-LiNi0.8Co0.15Al0.05O2 cells at different external resistances

Degradation Studies on Lithium Iron Phosphate - Graphite Cells. The Effect of Dissimilar Charging – Discharging Temperatures

Safety of Rechargeable Energy Storage Systems with a focus on Li-ion Technology

 

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