Rechargeable battery technologies serve a critical function in the implementation of green and renewable energy strategies.
However, although they are widely utilized to power a range of devices, including electric vehicles, and act as energy storage solutions for power stations, there are ongoing concerns regarding the stability and safety of these technologies, particularly over longer timescales.1
Battery management systems (BMS) address these concerns as they improve the reliability and safety of battery technologies.
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Battery Management Systems (BMS)
BMS is already widely employed and is fundamental to ensuring battery safety and reliability. Traditionally, BMS has passively monitored parameters such as voltages, temperatures, charge status, and interlocks.
However, BMS has now developed into an active control system that optimizes battery safety and performance.
Modern BMS can be employed to check specific parameters against set limits, as well as to disconnect the battery via interlock systems to avoid any overload issues. Additionally, BMS can monitor charge cycles and maintain state-of-charge limits for rechargeable lithium-ion systems.
BMS systems can now be incorporated with software architectures for logging data into databases or improving performance using database information.
There is also the emerging trend within BMS technology of moving towards wireless systems, such as Zigbee, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. These wireless systems simplify battery wiring and weight management while providing benefits for networked data management.2,3
With the growing demand for rechargeable vehicles and renewable energy networks, it is predicted that the BMS market will experience a compound growth rate of over 20% by 2030.4 However, this increase in demand also highlights the vital need for comprehensive battery safety measures.
Many factors contribute toward battery safety, such as chemical safety, addressing concerns regarding electrolytes and electrodes, as well as electrical safety hazards and physical safety considerations like temperature regulation.
Understanding and regulating these many factors is fundamental to ensuring the secure integration of batteries into the evolving energy landscape.
For example, the ECE R100 defines testing requirements that apply to all potential road vehicles that contain lithium-ion batteries.5 The testing process includes mechanical integrity, shock (thermal and physical), vibrations, and different protections for any electrical faults.
Other regulations include the IEC 62619 standard that addresses the utilization of BMS systems based on IEC 61508. The requirements outlined by the UN are likely the most comprehensive standards for battery testing and regulation.
Within this regulatory framework, thermal propagation, a phenomenon that is often the underlying cause of battery-related fires, is a main concern. When the temperature of a cell temperature exceeds a critical threshold, overheating can spiral out of control; this situation is commonly called runaway.
Addressing the issue of thermal runaway is essential for compliance, as well as being vital for guaranteeing the safety and reliability of lithium-ion batteries in many applications.
Reliability and Safety
BMS acts as a foundation of road safety, facilitating the early detection of battery malfunctions and failures before escalation occurs. By comparing real-time battery monitoring results with existing databases of failure cases, BMS provides a proactive approach to detecting potential problems.6
This is crucial as there is frequently not one abuse case that causes battery failure, and, since modeling can be complex for predicting failures, the ability to employ real-world data enables more accurate prediction.
Thermal runaway involves chain exothermic reactions taking place in the battery, leading to a sharp increase in temperature which subsequently triggers further destabilization.
One of the most effective ways to prevent thermal runaway is the maintenance of safe temperature limits.
Other threats to battery integrity include electrolyte or coolant leakage and external water intrusion.
Role of Sensors
BMS are highly sensitive systems that can be employed for the detection of minor issues before they escalate into more significant problems.
This enables routine maintenance to be conducted on time and for major issues to be avoided. However, this ability is entirely dependent on the sensors that are integrated into BMS.
Many types of sensors can be integrated into the interlock systems to enable an effective response to problematic operating conditions or faults, such as humidity, temperature, and gas sensors.
As the risk of fire is one of the most significant concerns with rechargeable systems, temperature sensors are crucial for BMS to avoid reaching temperatures that could result in thermal runaway conditions.
Humidity sensors act as warning systems for the detection of moisture ingress into the battery casing, which indicates that there is potential damage to the housing.
As a result, it is imperative to avoid excessive humidity to maintain battery performance. Linking the humidity sensor to a shutdown feedback loop is essential for this purpose.
Gas sensors play an important part in the detection of breakdowns of chemical products within the battery as well as identifying the emission of unwanted chemicals.
These sensors are utilized to detect compounds, including methane, carbon monoxide, and fluorinated halogens, which contribute to the flammability of a battery and act as indicators of potential issues.
However, a key challenge for BMS is improving their scalability. For example, for road electric vehicles, it is crucial that the BMS does not add significant bulk and weight and can make ‘independent decisions’ where wireless connectivity is not feasible.
The efficacy of a BMS is directly correlated to the reliability and quality of the measurements it conducts, highlighting the importance of advanced sensor technology.
Advancements in connectivity technologies have helped to enhance the reliability of BMS and provide full control over battery cell monitoring, safety, and control. Developments in sensor technology have also played a key role, as such systems require highly precise measurements of current and voltage.
In general, BMS is vital for any battery-powered device, from portable gadgets to large installations. It improves performance, safety, and reliability, paving the way for future advancements in product design and safety standards.
Contact Sensirion to learn how its BMS could enhance the performance and reliability of your battery technologies. Sensirion’s technologies provide the benefits of effective failure prediction and regulatory compliance.
References and Further Reading
- Chen, Y. et al. (2021) ‘A review of lithium-ion battery safety concerns: The issues, strategies, and testing standards’, Journal of Energy Chemistry, 59, pp. 83–99. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095495620307075.
- Gabbar, H., Othman, A. and Abdussami, M. (2021) ‘Review of Battery Management Systems (BMS) Development and Industrial Standards’, Technologies, 9(2), p. 28. Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/2227-7080/9/2/28.
- Samanta, A. and Williamson, S.S. (2021) A Survey of Wireless Battery Management System: Topology, Emerging Trends, and Challenges [Preprint]. Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9292/10/18/2193.
- Market Research Future (2023) Battery Management System Market is Projected to Reach USD 45.70 billion, at a 22.2% CAGR by 2030 – Report by Market Research Future (MRFR), GlobeNewswire News Room. Available at: https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2023/02/22/2613100/0/en/Battery-Management-System-Market-is-Projected-to-Reach-USD-45-70-billion-at-a-22-2-CAGR-by-2030-Report-by-Market-Research-Future-MRFR.html (Accessed: 19 September 2023).
- Regulation No. 100 Rev.3 (2023) UNECE. Available at: https://unece.org/transport/documents/2022/03/standards/regulation-no-100-rev3 (Accessed: 19 September 2023).
- Zhao, J. et al. (2022) ‘Data-driven prediction of battery failure for electric vehicles’, iScience, 25(4), p. 104172. Available at: https://www.cell.com/iscience/fulltext/S2589-0042(22)00442-4.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Sensirion AG.
For more information on this source, please visit Sensirion AG.