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Automotive Symposium
Advanced Automotive Battery Technology, Application & Market (AABTAM)
Wednesday, June 17 to Friday, June 19, 2015

Advanced Automotive Battery Conferences

AABC 2015 – Automotive Symposium

Session 4 (Joint session with industrial/stationary symposium session 4):

Battery Abuse-Tolerance Design and Validation

Safety of the early large Li-Ion battery installations will have the greatest impact on market acceptance for the technology in automotive and industrial/stationary applications. In this session we will discuss safety enhancement technology and abuse tolerance validation in automotive and stationary/industrial usage.


Ted Miller
Session Chairman:
Ted Miller, Senior Manager of Energy Storage Strategy and Research, Ford


Ted Miller’s team is responsible for energy-storage strategy, research, development, and worldwide implementation of hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, fuel cell hybrid electric vehicles, and battery electric vehicles. Mr. Miller is a member and Chairman of the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) Management Committee and past Chairman of the USABC Technical Advisory Committee. He is the principle investigator for Ford/University Research Alliance energy storage research programs at MIT and the University of Michigan.

  1. Rechargeable Energy Storage System Safety, Performance, and Modeling
    Ted Miller, Senior Manager of Energy Storage Strategy and Research, Ford Motor Company
    Advanced lithium ion rechargeable energy storage systems (RESS) are critical to vehicle electrification. However, there are technology challenges which must be mastered in order to ensure RESS safety. Among key challenges are robust controls, active safety systems, and passive safety design. As well, RESS behavior in the event of a crash, or other such safety issues, must be fully comprehended and addressed in the vehicle system design.  Finally, a means must exist to effectively assess the safety performance of RESS at the vehicle level. This talk will consider an approach to assessing RESS safety performance within the context of vehicle safety qualification, testing results, and plans for safety performance modeling tools.  The range of efforts undertaken by the Ford Energy Storage and Materials Research Team will be presented. 

    Key topics to be presented include:

    • RESS safety performance projects
    • RESS safety testing results
    • Ford RESS safety research
    • RESS safety performance modeling
  2. Effect of Induced Metal Contaminants on Lithium-ion Cell Safety
    Galen Ressler, Technical Fellow, General Motors
    In order to understand the effects of metal contaminants in lithium ion cells on performance and safety, small lithium ion pouch cells were fabricated in the lab and iron particles of various sizes were carefully placed at different locations in the cells. These locations included near the positive electrode tab, on the negative electrode in the center of the cell and on the positive electrode in the center of the cell. Cells were divided into two groups and were tested for cycle life and storage for extended periods of time. After the tests were terminated, tear-down analysis of all the cells was performed to look for the position, size, and morphology of the iron particles under optical and scanning electron microscopes. The observed performance and physical changes which occurred during and after the tests will be discussed.
  3. Advances Towards Inherently Safe Lithium-Ion Batteries
    Joshua Lamb, Research Staff Member with the Advanced Power Sources R&D Organization, Sandia National Laboratories
    As lithium ion batteries are used in increasingly diverse systems, the size and energy needed for new applications in transportation, military use and grid storage have begun to increase dramatically. Not only has this increased the size of batteries being used, but it has also changed the conditions under which they are used. Abusive conditions that were considered unrealistic for small consumer electronics batteries must be considered a possibility for large batteries used in a variety of situations and increasingly complex systems. Work at the Battery Safety and Abuse Testing Laboratory at Sandia National Laboratory looks at several avenues to improve battery safety performance. First, abusive battery testing is used to better evaluate and understand both the consequences and mechanisms of catastrophic battery failure, including the evaluation of new materials as they are developed and testing to understand how single cell failures may impact a larger system. Further work includes both the development and testing of new inherently safe battery materials. We have also examined alternative diagnostics and measurements to better detect battery failures before they reach catastrophic levels. This presentation highlights our recent work towards understanding and improving the safety performance of lithium ion batteries.

    Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.

  4. Vehicle Level Abuse Testing of xEVs – Internal Fire
    Erik Spek, Chief Engineer, TÜV SÜD
    TÜV SÜD is a global provider of 3rd party certification and testing services for a wide variety of industries and products including batteries and hybrid and electric vehicles. In addition to performance and life testing, TÜV SÜD has focused on abuse testing of cells, packs and full xEVs. This presentation describes a 2013/2014 test program undertaken by contract for SAE International and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to examine the effects of a battery internal fire in six xEVs.
    The presentation covers:
    • The program objective
    • A summary of current related standards
    • Risk management of the potential hazards
    • Development of the test procedures, measured parameters and the provocation methods
    • Key results, observations and future test programs
  5. Simultaneous Generated Gas Components at the Safety Evaluation of Lithium-Ion Batteries
    Taku Saito, Battery Testing and Chemical Analysis Sections, Toyo System
    We investigated the simultaneous generated gas components at the safety evaluation of the lithium ion battery (LIB) in air. The gas was generated by thermal runaway in the LIB and fire, in the sealed vessel. The gas components were measured by chromatography and chemical analysis. The detected major gas components were H2, CO2, CO and low chain hydrocarbons. The minor gas components were F and CN compound with toxicity. In this study, we reported the behavior of these minor components in sight of safety.
  6. Thermal Safety Management of Large Lithium-Ion Battery Energy Storage Systems
    Vijay Somandepalli, Managing Engineer, Exponent
    With the increasing investment in renewable sources, such as wind and solar, and the increasing demands for electricity, developing safe and reliable energy storage is a key element in modernizing the electrical grid. One of the key challenges for energy utilities is the safe integration of energy storage technologies into the current electrical grid infrastructure. Storage of energy can create significant hazards because of the consequences of unintended releases of the energy.

    With recent advances in battery technologies, lithium-ion and similar battery technologies have become one of the leading solutions for energy storage applications. Because of the high energy density in such batteries, one of the key issues is safety and preventing unintended release of stored energy. A catastrophic failure of a battery pack can occur if one or more cells in the battery pack undergo a thermal runaway event rapidly releasing the stored energy in the battery. Thermal runaway can lead to a release of flammable gases and heat and can potentially result in fire and explosions. Current standards and regulations do not address how to mitigate these hazards. However, in other industries, mitigation of such hazards is done routinely

    The objective of this presentation is to discuss how techniques and standards used for hazard mitigation and risk management in other industries can be adapted for use with large battery systems using lithium-ion and similar battery technologies. The presentation will also include a brief overview of current research on quantifying battery fire and explosion hazards.