COMSOL Day: Battery Technology
Modeling batteries, fuel cells, and electrolyzers for transport mobility
Batteries have long been the unit used to store power before using it at some time in the future when needed. Fuel cells, though, are starting to see a resurgence, as they are also becoming a popular power-storing source; namely utilizing hydrogen when and where you need it. One compact way to produce this hydrogen, often closely associated with the operation of an accompanying fuel cell, is through an electrolyzer. All three units rely on the electrochemistry and electrochemical kinetics at electrode surfaces, while other properties of these systems vary greatly. These can be transport processes, cooling requirements, and the structural integrity of such systems.
This COMSOL Day will provide COMSOL Multiphysics® users and those new to the COMSOL® software keynote and technical presentations; a panel discussion; and software demonstrations within the modeling of operating batteries, fuel cells, and electrolyzers. Access to applications engineers will allow you the chance to answer specific questions while you learn about software features and best practices. Some of the sessions will be about the features and modules available in COMSOL Multiphysics® for the modeling of these systems, while others will delve deeper into some of the underlying physics that need to be considered when modeling such.
Please join us before the first presentation starts to settle in and make sure that your audio and visual capabilities are working.
Eva Fontes, Intertek
The biggest challenges for battery design are to optimize energy density, power density, charging time, life, cost, safety, and sustainability. Modeling and simulation are very efficient methods that can assist researchers, developers, and designers in meeting these challenges. In the development of a cell design, the optimization of fundamental components of the cell (such as the electrodes, electrolyte, and separator), and the understanding of how their properties affect the performance and safety, can be accelerated using modeling and simulations. In the development of a battery design, the systems for thermal management, current collection, and state-of-health monitoring can also be developed with high-fidelity multiphysics simulations. During this talk, challenges for cell and battery design will be discussed and examples will be given of how they can be addressed with mathematical modeling.
One of the challenges with battery development is to get an understanding of the fundamental electrochemical processes that may determine a battery's performance and life. When you have such an expansive field, there are simply not enough experts in the theory and mathematical modeling of electrochemical systems. The Application Builder allows for these experts to develop specific and tailored software for scientists and engineers that may lack the theoretical knowledge to set up their own models. In this way, a larger community of scientists and engineers may benefit from modeling and simulation of battery systems.
Thermal management is an important aspect across different automotive applications. Within vehicle electrification, thermal management is crucial, since batteries, fuel cells, and many other components produce heat and must be cooled as they work best within narrow temperature intervals. In this session, an overview of the features and benefits offered by COMSOL Multiphysics® to model thermal management of systems through convection and conduction will be demonstrated and presented. In particular, a demonstration of forced convective cooling will be shown.
The Battery Design Module is an add-on product to COMSOL Multiphysics® that includes predefined physics-based interfaces or models for modeling detailed structures in everything from battery porous electrodes to battery packs themselves. This includes modeling the behavior of a battery: electrochemical reaction kinetics, electric fields, chemical deposition, ionic transfer, electrical heat production, thermal stresses, conjugate heat transfer within the thermal management system, and more. In this session, we will present and demonstrate the features and physics interfaces of the Battery Design Module, demonstrating a few of them.
COMSOL introduced the Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module in COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.6 to expand the sphere for modeling electric vehicles and energy conversion. This product can be used for modeling low- and high-temperature hydrogen fuel cells and water electrolyzers based on different operating parameters, such as proton exchange membranes (PEM), hydroxide exchange (alkaline) membranes, molten carbonates, and solid oxides. In this session, we will present and demonstrate simulations of electrochemical reactions, electrolyte charge transport, gas-phase mass transport, and convective flow, as well as two-phase water/gas transport.
Learn the fundamental workflow of COMSOL Multiphysics®. This introductory demonstration will show you all of the key modeling steps, including geometry creation, setting up physics, meshing, solving, and postprocessing.
As the world shifts away from fossil fuels, efficient energy storage becomes more crucial, and investments in research toward improving battery technology will continue to grow. This panel will focus on the current state of simulation in battery technology and explore the potential for simulation to increase in scope and impact.
- Ralph E. White, University of South Carolina
- Taylor Garrick, General Motors
- Saeed Khaleghi Rahimian, SERES
- Xiaotong Chadderdon, Energizer
- David Kan, COMSOL
The level of sophistication in a battery system model depends on the purpose of the battery model. Microscopic models are highly sophisticated and aimed at detailed understanding of the heart of the battery. A model used for the control of a battery pack as a part of an electric vehicle drivetrain may not and cannot have the same degree of sophistication. In this session, we discuss lightweight, lumped models for modeling larger systems that incorporate battery packs.
Understanding processes, testing new ideas, and virtually prototyping new designs are all within the wheelhouse of performing simulations when developing new technology for the vehicle electrification industry. However, once certain designs and desired performances have been decided upon, optimizing such to ensure maximum performance and quality is also important, and draws largely from the use of simulation. In this session, we will discuss how to use numerical optimization techniques to improve components, processes, and operating parameters in electric-driven vehicles.
Battery systems are often burdened by unwanted side reactions at the electrodes. The Battery Design Module, an add-on product to COMSOL Multiphysics®, can be used to simulate various aging and degradation mechanisms and the resulting capacity fade in batteries. In doing so, the design engineer can investigate battery degradation impact on charge and discharge cycles, as well as self-discharge.
Any arbitrary by-reaction, such as hydrogen and oxygen evolution, the growth of a solid electrolyte interface due to deposition, metal plating, metal corrosion, and graphite oxidation can be included in your existing battery model through the flexibility built within the Battery Design Module.
In this session, we will present and demonstrate the capabilities of this module to model degradation in batteries and the process of building and running a capacity fade model.
While much to do with modeling electrochemical cells is determined by the electrochemical reaction characteristics, current density distribution, and heat transfer, we should not forget that fluid flow and transport processes are just as important. They deliver and remove species from reacting sites and cool (or sometimes heat) electrochemical cells to maintain optimal operational capacity and safety requirements. In this presentation, we will investigate reacting flow, porous media flow, two-phase flow models, electrochemical heating, and species transport using various example models.
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