Addressing Thermal Runaway in Li-Ion Batteries for Safe Behind-the-Meter Storage Systems
“Efficient and high-performance chemistries for novel battery cells, such as lithium-ion, could be the solution that minimizes stability challenges posed by the high penetration of EVs in the market. However, researchers must address the hazards associated with lithium-ion batteries used in stationary applications for BTMS to become a reality.”
As the use of electric vehicles (EVs) increases, the need for efficient and reliable energy storage systems grows. Behind-the-meter storage (BTMS) systems have been identified as key to improving grid stability and reducing the levelized cost of electricity for fast charging of light-, medium-, and heavy-duty EVs. However, BTMS systems are not without their challenges. One of the main challenges is the potential for thermal runaway in lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in EVs and stationary energy storage systems due to their high energy density and long cycle life. However, they are also prone to thermal runaway, a process in which a single cell failure can lead to a chain reaction that causes the battery to overheat and catch fire.
To ensure the safety and reliability of BTMS systems, researchers must address the hazards associated with lithium-ion batteries used in stationary applications. In FY 2022, the BTMS team performed abuse testing on various battery modules to verify modeling results and better understand the benefits of various electrical and thermal isolation strategies. The testing showed that these strategies isolated the heat from a single cell failure and prevented adjacent cells from entering into thermal runaway.
In FY 2023, the team plans to build on its initial success by testing larger battery systems and incorporating passive and active safety systems. Passive safety systems include materials and designs that are inherently safe, while active safety systems involve sensors, controllers, and other electronics that monitor and control battery performance in real-time.
Efficient and high-performance chemistries such as lithium-ion batteries could be the solution to minimizing stability challenges posed by the high penetration of EVs in the market. However, it is crucial to address the potential hazards associated with these batteries to ensure the safe and reliable operation of BTMS systems. Through continued research and testing, the BTMS team aims to develop effective strategies to mitigate the risks of thermal runaway in lithium-ion batteries and enable the widespread adoption of BTMS systems for grid stability and fast charging of EVs.