Case study: MAT2BAT

Battery pack in battery room

Battery pack in battery room. Credit: Getty

With support from UKRI’s Faraday Battery challenge, Ansys and project partners have developed a tool and database to help users explore new battery module designs.

There is a global drive towards electrification. Core to achieving it is the design and development of greener, better batteries. However, battery cells, modules and packs are complex systems, leading to multiple challenges around interdependencies, materials and components.

In 2018, Granta Design (which in early 2019 became part of the engineering simulation and 3D design software company Ansys) joined forces with Imperial College, London and battery manufacturer Denchi Group. They worked together to tackle these design issues.

Practical battery module design tool

Funded by UK Research and Innovation via its Faraday Battery challenge, the yearlong MAT2BAT project resulted in an early-stage practical battery module design tool and a database. Both of these are fully integrated in the Ansys Granta commercial and education software packages.

What this means is that technical professionals working in industry, such as engineers and designers, can use the Ansys Granta Selector software. They will be able to explore and compare multiple different design configurations, quickly and easily, in the early stages of design and development.

Student engineers can learn about the concepts of cell or module selection and design through Ansys Granta EduPack, the materials engineering software used by over 1,000 universities and colleges worldwide.

Supporting engineers to design new, better cells

Alex Cazacu, Senior R&D Project Manager at Ansys, said it will help existing and future engineers learn about, explore, test and design battery innovations.

We are supporting engineers to design new, better cells and we are training new engineers in this area. A tool like this enables people to churn through a lot of combinations of cell configuration, and they can discover materials and specifications that they wouldn’t otherwise see.

The tool and data set help users understand design components and performance metrics, enabling them to explore relationships between battery module design and performance.

Beneficial to industry and students

Roger Barnett, Senior Product Manager at Ansys, said using the tool and database in the preliminary design and development phase is beneficial to industry and to students, for several reasons.

Roger said:

Users can pick lots of different designs and explore them all at the same time, narrowing down the field of possible combinations. It is very easy and low cost to change things at the start of the design and development process.

Towards the end of the process, there is much less flexibility for making changes and the costs are higher.

MAT2BAT was a truly collaborative project, with Imperial College developing the design methodology, Ansys developing the software tool and database and Denchi Group helping with industrial models and user feedback.

When the project ended in 2019, Ansys spent an additional year developing the tool and database and turning them into finished products.

Rob Davis, Director of Product Management (Materials Business Unit) at Ansys, said:

Batteries are complex systems with many design challenges. This UKRI-funded project was key to tackling these challenges. Our users can rapidly explore new designs and optimise their products for an electrified future.

Last updated: 2 September 2021

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