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Battery analytics: getting the best out of batteries
Finnish company Akkurate writes…
“With countries all around the world pushing to transition to cleaner energy, batteries are definitely part of the equation. Households can generate their own energy, for example using solar panels on roofs and in gardens and store excess power in their own battery - behind-the-meter.
Additionally, on a larger scale, rather than letting surplus energy go to waste, utilities can store it in large facilities - front-of-meter. But to do that, operators need to be able to get the best out of their batteries. Battery analytics make this possible - here's how.
All batteries are, at their core, containers consisting of one or more cells that convert chemical energy into electricity which can then be used as a source of power, but the way in which they get there differs between available types. As a result, not only do they age differently, but they vary in size, complexity and cost as well - which can make it challenging to integrate them into the energy grid and make sure they are fit for multi-use application.
Using battery analytics, operators can find out all kinds of important information about their batteries. It provides data on state of charge, temperature, and energy, but also important information about possible imbalances inside batteries that may cause unexpected performance degradation. These and other inputs allow operators to choose an operating strategy that fits their hardware perfectly.
Being able to offer warranty on their batteries is important for integrators because it works both ways: it generates trust on the side of the asset owner and provides them with insight, since they can easily check whether the battery system is performing as promised. At the same time, it ensures that asset owners are using batteries according to the operator's specifications and warranty terms.
Setting this up and enforcing it can be challenging, but real-time battery analytics make sure it is not: real-time alerts prevent inappropriate usage and can help avoid warranty claims or customers to lose warranty. And because all information is saved and easily accessible, liability discussions become a lot easier, because there is a record of usage history.
Suggestions for improvement…
As mentioned earlier, batteries can really vary in size, either to make sure they deliver what was agreed upon, or to prevent them from degrading faster than expected. An often-used solution to these challenges is to make the batteries far larger than they really need to be, which may cause costs to rise unnecessarily high.
The smarter option is to keep a close eye on analytics during the lifecycle of a battery. Key metrics like temperature and utilisation rate provide improvement suggestions. At Akkurate, we have been performing scientific research for many years (and tests in our laboratory are still ongoing) in order to design Diagnose, our remote battery diagnostics solution. Its diagnostics provide facts on battery health and performance, allowing companies to plan maintenance or replacement well in advance, and yet, preventing potential safety issues.
Features like centralised surveillance, better battery performance, lifetime prediction, support in possible quality issues, improved safety and help with recycling and repurposing all contribute to holistic battery life cycle management.
Want to know more?
The team at Akkurate possesses over 100 years of experience in Li-ion batteries. To us, battery data is not only nice to have - it is our core competence, and we refine it to help different industries to learn and optimise their battery solutions in an increasingly electrified world. Please get in touch to learn more about our solutions - we'd be delighted to tell you more about them!”
15th April 2021