Brill Power’s new innovation radically increases battery life and storage capacity

Brill Power, supported by EIT Climate-KIC, has launched the first in a new class of battery management systems (BMS), increasing battery life and storage capacity to help mitigate climate change, pollution and the extraction of raw materials.

According to a study on energy storage systems: “A large amount and wide range of raw materials, including metals and non-metals, are used to produce batteries. And, the battery industry can generate considerable amounts of environmental pollutants (e.g. hazardous waste, greenhouse gas emissions and toxic gases) during different processes such as mining, manufacturing, use, transportation, collection, storage, treatment, disposal and recycling. Battery use at a large scale or grid-scale (>50 MW), which is widely anticipated, will therefore have significant social and environmental impacts.”

Brill Power is addressing the increasing demand for more sustainable energy solutions with their innovation, the BrillMS B62 Premium BMS, which increases battery life by up to 60 per cent and enhances storage capacity by up to 129 per cent. This technology is built on over a decade of PhD research into battery degradation, battery modelling and power electronics by Brill Power’s engineering team while at the University of Oxford. Brill Power also received support from EIT Climate-KIC.

“EIT Climate-KIC was part of Brill Power’s journey from the very beginning,” said Carolyn Hicks, CFO and COO, Brill Power. “We were part of the Greenhouse programme when we were just exploring the potential to make a difference in energy storage. We were a finalist in the 2016 Climate Launchpad competition, earning us a place in the 2016-2017 Accelerator programme. Most recently, we were successful in the EIT Climate-KIC Extraordinary COVID-19 Venture Support.”

She added: “EIT Climate-KIC has provided valuable training, funding and guidance throughout Brill Power’s journey. We would not have formed Brill Power without their early support, and we continue to benefit from the network and support that the EIT Climate-KIC provides.”

Every battery needs a battery management system (BMS), ensuring that lithium-ion and other battery chemistries operate safely and effectively.  This could, for example, help stop battery cells from getting over-charged or over-discharged, too hot or too cold, or overloaded with electric current. Until now, there have been only two types of BMS available: Those that perform passive balancing and those that perform active balancing. Passive balancing drains charge from cells with too much charge and dissipates drained energy as heat. Active balancing moves charge from ‘high cells’ to ‘low cells,’ attempting to conserve energy in the battery pack. Therefore, an active balancing BMS helps improve round-trip efficiency. But the additional cost typically doesn’t justify this marginal benefit, so passive balancing is the go-to option. 

With its cell-level current control, Brill Power’s BrillMS B62 Premium BMS represents an innovation in battery performance compared to active balancing, with its low value for money. Or the performance, life and safety constraining solution of passive balancing.

“Brill Power’s novel BMS technology brings step-change improvements to batteries, previously only thought to be achievable with innovations in materials or chemistry,” said Christoph Birkl, CEO, Brill Power. “The BrillMS enables battery system developers to create the safest, most reliable battery systems while ensuring the lowest possible cost of ownership for their customers.”

BrillMS-B62

Image via Brill Power.

Brill Power has also designed the hardware and software to implement its approach to optimised cell-level current control. Algorithms determine the health and power capability of every parallel-connected cell block in the battery and control circuitry regulates the electric current accordingly. Stronger cell blocks are exposed to higher currents and weaker ones to lower currents. This ensures that every joule of energy is extracted from each individual cell during every discharge cycle. As a result, no single cell limits the energy storage capacity, power capability or lifetime of the battery system.

Not only does the BMS increase battery lifetime and energy storage capacity, but it provides three additional benefits. Firstly, levels of reliability and uptime are drastically enhanced since faulty battery cells and modules can be bypassed and replaced while the battery system remains fully operational. Secondly, with regulated battery output voltage, the battery can also be directly connected to other power sources or loads in the system, such as solar photovoltaic arrays or electric vehicle chargers without the need for a costly DC/DC converter or charge controller. And, Brill Power’s BrillMS B62 Premium BMS enhances safety through cell-level protection that prevents currents exceeding safe limits and any cells approaching hazardous conditions can be isolated.

The BrillMS B62 Premium BMS is particularly valuable for applications where the battery is a mission-critical component, such as uninterruptable power supplies (UPS), telecoms, medical and defence.

The BrillMS B62 Premium BMS is the first in a series of novel BMS product launches from Brill Power intended to transform both the stationary energy storage market as well as the motive application of battery cells in electric vehicles. 

“2022 will be an exciting year at Brill Power,” said Hicks. “Building on the success of the B62 product, we have further products in development which will reach the market next year. We will be growing our amazing team to keep up with the interest in intelligent battery management.”

 
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