Toolbox offers virtual battery testing

September 23, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
In a joint project, embedded tool vendor dSpace and RWTH Aachen University have developed a simulation environment for electrical energy storage systems that supports a broad range of physical battery characteristics.

Under the name “Toolbox Speichersysteme” (Energy Storage Toolbox), a simulation model developed at the RWTH’s Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (ISEA) was combined with a GUI from dSpace. The solution makes it possible to realistically simulate the electrical and thermal behavior of various battery technologies, supercaps and other electrical energy storage systems, according to their design and cooling systems.

For the lithium-ion battery technology the simulation environment gives developers a range of different configuration options. These include aspects such as battery technology, the geometry, the number and arrangement of storage cells, wiring topology and the cooling system. The simulation model uses these configuration settings to calculate the thermal and electrical behavior of a defined battery, both at the cell level and overall system level, and simulates thermal effects with high local resolution. Developers, therefore, can analyze their cooling strategy and identify potential hot spots that could occur during battery operation.

The simulation environment is integrated into dSpace’s tool chain so that the batteries can be simulated either offline on a PC platform or in real time together with a battery management system ECU on a hardware-in-the-loop (HiL) simulator. Basic functions such as automation and data management are supported. This enables a seamless development process from battery system design to ECU testing of the battery management system (BMS). Toolbox Speichersysteme has already been validated in an industrial project and is now available as a proven solution for commercial development projects.

The research project focuses on the model-based development process for energy storage and battery management systems (BMS). Such processes are widely used in the automotive sector for electric drive systems and electrified drivetrains, among others. Toolbox Speichersysteme supports the complete process, from the virtual design of a battery to in-vehicle simulation and testing the BMS ECU. The model can be configured via parameterization. For example, the battery topology, the battery’s geometric shape, the electrical characteristics, and the level of