A new development environment makes it possible to simulate and test batteries, supercapacitors, and other energy-storage devices according to their design and cooling systems.
The Toolbox Speichersysteme, or Energy Storage Toolbox, was jointly developed by dSPACE, a company based in Paderborn, Germany that makes tools for developing electric control units (ECUs), and the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (ISEA) of RWTH Aachen University in Germany.
Merging a graphical user interface from dSPACE and simulation software from RWTH Aachen University, the development tool provides engineers with a wide range of configuration options. In the case of lithium-ion batteries, for example, these options include battery technology and shape, the number and arrangement of storage cells, wiring topologies, and cooling systems.
These configurations are used to calculate the thermal and electrical response of a simulated battery, both at the cell level and system level. The software simulates thermal effects in high resolution, allowing developers to analyze different cooling methods and to identify hot spots in a particular design.
Developing energy-storage and battery-management systems with simulation software is becoming more widespread. This is especially true in the auto industry as manufacturers begin to develop hybrid and fully electric vehicles. To support that industry, the Toolbox Speichersysteme is designed with special parameters for testing batteries in a simulated vehicle.
The development tool can also be defined via physical parameters. For instance, these parameters can be configured to simulate traction and power supplies. The batteries can be simulated either offline on a computer or in real time using a hardware-on-a-loop (HIL) simulator.
The Toolbox Speichersysteme was developed as part of a research project between dSPACE and RWTH Aachen University. The ISEA studies issues in high-density energy storage. In recent years, it has developed models, diagnostic algorithms, and specialized measurement tools, with a particular focus on electric vehicles. The research project received funds from the European Union and the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.