Characterization and Warm-up of Li-ion Cells from Sub-Zero Temperatures

Principal Investigator: Anna Stefanopoulou, University of Michigan,
Faculty: Jason Siegel, University of Michigan
Student: Shankar Mohan, University of Michigan
Government: Yi Ding, Matt Castanier, U.S. Army TARDEC
Industry: Dyche Anderson, Ford Motor Co

This work proposes a model predictive control technique that exploits the battery internal resistance for fast warm-up thus indirectly improving the cell performance (power capability and coulombic efficiency).

It is well documented that at low temperatures, the discharge capability of Lithium-ion (Li-ion) cells can be less than 70% of that at room temperature [1]. It has been proposed that the reduction in electrode and electrolyte diffusivity [2], decrease in reaction kinetics [2] and loss of available lithium owing to plating and absorption into the Solid Electrolyte Interface (SEI) layer [3] are the most likely reasons. Warming cells in an effort to improve cell performance is a long standing practice in the context of secondary batteries.

The electro-thermal dynamics of Li-ion cells have been shown to exhibit self-heating [4] and the use of this phenomenon to increase temperature has been discussed in literature [5]. A systematic electrothermal model that captures the spatio-temporal temperature distributions in planar cells is underway in the ARC by Monroe’s team. However this model needs to be extended to capture the evolving electrode overpotentials for preventing Li plating and degradation despite aggressive pulsing for fast warm-up.

First, we propose to develop a model to capture the sub-zero cell electrical and thermal behavior so that it can be used to accurately predict limitations and optimize the magnitude and frequency of the bi-directional currents. The warm up will rely on drawing bi-directional current from the cell and hence necessitates the presence of other battery cells or external energy storage elements such as ultra-capacitors. The tradeoff between minimum-time to warm-up and energy wasted during warm-up will be analyzed along with considerations regarding optimal sizing of the system components (capacitor, resistances, power electronics for current switching, etc) as a function of the power requirements. Controlled experiments with the optimal current amplitudes and switching frequency will be performed in the Ann Arbor battery labs in the second year of the project. The experiments will provide insight in the algorithm optimality and assess any unintended degradation pattern. Methods to maximize efficiency by sharing engine heat in hybrid electric vehicles will also be explored.


  • Xinfan Lin, Hector E. Perez, Shankar Mohan, Jason B. Siegel, Anna G. Stefanopoulou, Yi Ding and Matthew P. Castanier. "A Lumped-Parameter Electro-thermal Model for Cylindrical Batteries", Vol. 257, p 1-11, Journal of Power Sources, 2014.
    doi: 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2014.01.097
  • Y. Kim, S. Mohan, J.B. Siegel, A.G. Stefanopoulou, and Y Ding, "The Estimation of Temperature Distribution in Cylindrical Battery Cells under Unknown Cooling Conditions", IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology.
    doi: 10.1109/TCST.2014.2309492
    (also appeared in the ACC as a conference paper).
  • S. Mohan, Y Kim, A. Stefanopoulou, Y Ding, “On the Warm-Up of Li-ion Cells from Sub-zero Temperatures,” American Control Conference (ACC), Portland, Oregon, June 2014. doi: 10.1109/ACC.2014.6859350
  • Y. Kim, S. Mohan, N. Samad, J.B. Siegel, and A.G. Stefanopoulou "Optimal Power Management for a Series Hybrid Electric Vehicle Cognizant of Battery Mechanical Effects", American Control Conference (ACC), Portland, Oregon, p 3832-7, 2014.
    doi: 10.1109/ACC.2014.6859505

Related papers that build the foundation for this work (leveraged by Ford funding):

  • L1. X. Lin, S. Mohan, J. Siegel, A. Stefanopoulou, “Temperature Estimation in a Battery String under Frugal Sensor Allocation,” DSCC 2014-6352
  • L2. Y. Kim, S. Mohan, J. B. Siegel, and A. G. Stefanopoulou, "Maximum Power Estimation of Lithium-ion Batteries Accounting for Thermal and Electrical Constraints," in ASME Dynamic Systems Control Conference, Oct 22-24, 2013, doi: 10.1115/DSCC2013-3935

Related paper in 2014 that helps this work (funded by ARPA-E to GE/Ford/UM):

  • L3. N. Samad, J. Siegel, A. Stefanopoulou, “Parameterization and Validation of a Distributed Coupled Electro-Thermal Model for Prismatic Cells,” DSCC2014-6321.

Related papers of different ARC project teams in 2014 this project-quad helped with:

  • L4. Y. Parvini, J. B. Siegel, A. G. Stefanopoulou, and A. Vahidi, “Preliminary results on identification of an electro-thermal model for low temperature and high power operation of cylindrical double layer ultracapacitors," American Control Conference, Portland, Oregon, June 2014.
  • L5. L. Secondo, S. U. Kim, A. Stefanopoulou, C.W. Monroe, “Simplifying electrothermal dynamics of 15-Ah prismatic Li-ion batteries,” ECS Annual Mtg., Oct. 2014, Cancun, Mexico.
  • L6. S.U. Kim, L. Secondo, A. Stefanopoulou, and C.W. Monroe, “Coupling of Dynamic Electrical and Thermal Processes in Prismatic Batteries,” 224th Electrochemical Society Conference, Nov. 2013, San Francisco, CA.
  • L7. S. U. Kim, L. Secondo, C.W. Monroe, J. Siegel, and A. Stefanopoulou, “Key Parameters for Electrothermal Dynamics and Control of 15-Ah Prismatic Li-Ion Batteries,” AIChE Annual Mtg., Nov. 2013, San Francisco, CA.
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  2. S. Zhang, K. Xu, and T. Jow, “Low temperature performance of graphite electrode in li-ion cells,” Electrochimica Acta, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 241 – 246, 2002.
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