Projects

Current Density Imaging in EV battery modules,
Project: Innovate UK, Faraday Challenge Feasibility Study.
Dr G. Kendall (CDO2 Ltd, Project Lead)
Dr K. Mehran (PI, QMUL)
Prof P. Kruger (CI, University of Sussex)
Dr Mark Bason (CI, University of Sussex)
Mr B. Dunne (INEX Microsystems)
Dr M O’Keefe (INEX Microsystems)

DESCRIPTION
This project will assess and characterise new and existing techniques for measuring the current flow through EV batteries including based upon emerging quantum sensor technology. A new generation of battery management systems can be developed as a result of these measurement to enhance the life and performance of the battery pack in consumer vehicles. This will help improve the public perception and trust in this essential new technology. By maintaining an accurate and timely estimate of the state of charge, state of health and thermal properties of the battery, it will be possible to effectively eliminate the possibility of batteries overheating and causing fires, which remains an important consumer concern. The purpose of this project is to assess the feasibility of these new techniques, based upon quantum sensors, to be deployed within a battery management system (BMS). New data processing systems will be developed to assess battery performance and to provide realtime data for and to allow the BMS to maintain the optimal condition of the battery pack in an EV. The project will deliver a battery module demonstrator incorporating the new sensor suite, data processing software and BMS. We envisage that this sensor technology will be disruptive in managing EV batteries and could become a standard requirement of new car certification in order to improve consumer safety, confidence and uptake of EVs.


Multi-physics sensor fusion for power electronic converter prognostics
Project: EPSRC Centre for Power Electronics, Feasibility Study.
Prof M. Foster (PI, University of Sheffield)
Dr K. Mehran (CI, QMUL)
Dr J. Davidson (CI, University of Sheffield)
Dr Y. Hu (CI, University of Liverpool)
Dr B. Ji (CI, University of Leicester)

DESCRIPTION
Power electronics underpins modern electric and hybrid vehicles allowing efficient energy transfer between the vehicle battery system and the drive motors. These vehicles have to operate in a wide range of climates and geographies meaning that the electrical systems have to be designed to withstand significant overstresses, particularly from self-heating and sudden loading during normal operation. As a result, the power electronics are significantly over-designed to ensure sufficient reliability given the harsh operating conditions. To simplify construction, reduce costs and increase reliability, manufacturers are seeking ever-tighter system integration. In the future, wide-bandgap semiconductor materials such as silicon carbide will allow significant improvements in power density and volumetric efficiency by closely coupling the signal and power stages and allowing the power stage to be integrated within the electrical machine, sharing the same cooling circuit. This level of integration poses a number of significant challenges as the heat transfer paths are interlinked and significantly more complex. In addition, the close thermal coupling with the machine will greatly increase the stress on the electrical and mounting connections, leading to bond wire degradation and unwanted stresses in the interface layer between the semiconductor material and the substrate. To address these challenges, this project will research a multi-physics sensor fusion technique to provide accurate prognostics for highly integrated power electronic converters for electric vehicles. The real-time prognostics, accurately estimating state of health and the true age of the converter, will allow the vehicle management system to intelligently adjust the available power and cooling requirements. This will be achieved through dynamically adjusting the safe operating area of the power converter based on the prevailing conditions and records of previous ageing. This project allows the various expertise held across the UK to be combined to deliver a highly interdisciplinary solution to an increasingly relevant challenge. To provide greatest impact, the project is supported by Dynex Semiconductor who will provide expert advice and an avenue for future industrially focussed research and eventual exploitation.


Microgrid distributed control
Project: EPSRC GCRF Sponsorship, EP/R512709/1.
Dr K. Mehran (PI, QMUL)


Intelligent control systems for extending the life-cycle and safety of solar Li-ion battery Packs
Project: British Council Newton Fund
Dr K. Mehran (PI, QMUL)
Prof. Weerakorn Onsakul (CI, AIT, Thailand)

DESCRIPTION
This project investigates novel model-based control methods for Li-ion vehicular battery packs to be used as residential storage for PV array/storage. The project also conducts a feasibility study on the low-cost deployment of the novel battery management system (BMS) for Solar Home project in Thailand. The project aims to arrange workshops/seminars and establish a network of policy makers, public/private funders and local companies to deploy the technology more effectively in Thailand and the neighbouring developing countries.


Extending the life-cycle of the aged Li-ion battery packs
Project: EPSRC GCRF Institutional Sponsorship
Dr K. Mehran (PI, QMUL)
Dr Guang Li (CI, QMUL)
Prof. Jing Na (KIST, Kunming, China)
Prof Saiful Huque (Project participant, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Dr Mohammad Ismail (Project participant, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Prof Rafiq Islam (Project participant, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh)

DESCRIPTION
The use of aged Vehicular Li-ion battery packs to supply power for grid (V2G) applications increases reliability and consistency in the grid as the renewable source, e.g. wind power, solar panel, undergoes natural fluctuations. This project investigates the design of more efficient power electronic converters acting as a bidirectional charger in V2G operation, and novel control strategies for these converters to respond rapidly to grid high-switching demands. Battery packs suffer from random variability and degradation caused by of a single cell failure. We further investigate to enhance the lifetime of battery packs using internal wireless/antenna communication system.


Enhancing the lifespan of Li-ion Battery Packs integrated with a novel bi-directional charger and control system
Project: EPSRC Institutional Sponsorship, EP/P511213/1
Dr K. Mehran (PI, QMUL)

DESCRIPTION
This project is proposed to largely improve the Li-ion battery system in 3 major milestones, i.e. increasing the lifespan of Li-ion BP through the novel use of antenna and communication system, designing novel dc-dc converter (bi-directional chargers, developing effective control/configuration algorithms for the charger and BP. The milestones are divided and described in 8 steps: 1. to detect the failing cell within BP and communicate the cell parameters, i.e. internal resistance, temperature, voltage and current, to the other cells and outside of BP, we will design an antenna for individual cells. As this antenna is placed inside the BP next to the cathode or close to the solid solution zone, the region where charging activity is concentrated, the cell parameters can be sent to a receiver in real-time, 2. After detecting and isolating the failing cell or cells a reconfiguration algorithm is needed to immediately stabilise and maintain the charging/discharging, 3.For efficient reconfiguration and stabilisation, cell-to-cell and cell-to-multicell communication are necessary. We mean by ‘efficient’ as computational complexity of MIMO communication algorithm must be substantially reduced to make real-time application possible, 4. Pre and Post-reconfiguration dynamical stability analysis. This is critical step for the next step (5), and largely improve the estimation of SoH and SoC, 5. Model predictive control (MPC) or nonlinear fuzzy control strategy to better estimate SOC and SOH in every cell and improve its unique dynamics, 6. Transferring the intensive computation of control/reconfiguration algorithms to the cloud instead of using sophisticated hardware on-board. Furthermore, store the historical data of SoH and SoC dynamics on the cloud to understand the changes in a life-span of BP in a much longer period of time, 7. Design of more efficient dc-dc converters acting as bi-directional charger for BP. We mean by ‘efficient’ here as higher-switching converters with reduced size, providing plug-and-play capabilities (for residential renewable sources) and require less-expensive cooling and ventilation systems, 8.Non-smooth fuzzy controllers to control the non-linear phenomena (bifurcation, chaos) in dc-dc converters. This will largely improve the converter rapid response to the charging/discharging demand of the grid or EVs.


PREVIOUS:

New Control Methodology for the Next Generation of Engine Management Systems 
Project: EPSRC (Research Fellow), 01/09/2013 – 29/08/2015
University of Warwick

Optimisation and control of EGR system on internal combustion engines
Project: Practical project funded by Jaguar Land Rover, 01/09/2014 – 15/08/2015
University of Warwick

Gallium Nitride µLED array for optogenetics
Project: BBSRC Commercialisation grant (Research Associate), £350K, 01/09/2011 – 01/04/2013
Project: KTA Associate, 01/04/2013 – 01/09/2013
Newcastle University, UK