Kulr completes 200Ah high energy EV battery thermal runaway tests

Kulr completes 200Ah high energy EV battery thermal runaway tests

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Kulr has completed tests on a 200 Ah high energy Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) prismatic format lithium-ion cells for its global automotive OEM customer.

Kulr is the exclusive licensee of the large format fractional thermal runaway calorimeter (L-FTRC) technology from NASA to test high energy battery cells for electric vehicles, grid energy storage and industrial applications.

This allows Kulr to characterize total energy yield, fractional energy yield, and mass ejection distributions for the largest of lithium-ion cell formats available, both from a dimension standpoint and with respect to capacity. This arrangement also allows Kulr to extract and submit gas samples for third party gas speciation analysis. 

“Thermal runaway testing in general is a challenge where numerous variables and their impacts must be considered. Ultimately, we are characterizing very violent events. If the objective is closed, or semi-closed, in format testing the larger the cell — the more difficult the test,” said William Walker, CTO of Kulr.

“When a lithium-ion cell goes into thermal runaway, we have immense amount of heat and gas released, with estimates of gas generation to be on the order of 3 liters per Ah. For 200 Ah cell, this means we must be prepared to deal with up to 600 liters of hot, toxic, and corrosive gases that are released in as little as 3-5 seconds. The KULR engineering team’s modifications to the NASA developed technology allowed us to successfully facilitate, instrument, and characterize the thermal runaway event of a NMC based 200 Ah cell for one of our customers.”

Last year, a leading global automaker selected KULR for its next-generation EV battery safety and testing solutions. Recently, EV automakers have been exploring high-performance silicon-anode batteries and other technologies to enhance driving range and reduce costs in future electric vehicles.

Kulr modified the design to be modular so that the mass of the system could be reduced or increased enough to sufficiently support “mid” sized lithium-ion cells (e.g. 30 Ah to 70 Ah) and very large cells (upwards of 200 Ah), respectively, as the licensed technology was only good for over 100 Ah capacity cells.

Ongoing research and development activities seek to add additional instrumentation to the device to facilitate real time mass flow measurement of the gases and in-situ characterization of some of the more toxic gases, such as Hydrogen Fluoride (HF). Understanding HF concentrations is critical to achieving certification when using lithium-ion cells in applications that are used around people.


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