15 Sep 2023

Several researchers traveled to Bitrode Corp.’s St. Louis facilities last month to demonstrate a new fast-charging technology for electric vehicles. Photo by Cyril Narishkin/Bitrode Corp.
Several researchers traveled to Bitrode Corp.’s St. Louis facilities last month to demonstrate a new fast-charging technology for electric vehicles. Photo by Cyril Narishkin/Bitrode Corp.
ST. LOUIS – Researchers from Missouri S&T along with their industry partners recently demonstrated new battery charging technology to the U.S. Department of Energy that could eventually accelerate the time it takes for electric vehicles (EVs) to be fully charged and back on the road.

The demonstration was held last month in Bitrode Corp.’s St. Louis facilities.

“Charging electric vehicles has become faster over the years, but it still takes more time than most people would prefer,” says Dr. Jonathan Kimball, the Fred W. Finley Distinguished Professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering at Missouri S&T. “Our project aimed to address this issue by developing new charging technology that could one day be more readily available and significantly speed up the charging process.”

During the demonstration, the researchers successfully showed how large amounts of electricity could be transferred to an EV’s battery at a high rate without the power grid collapsing.

“This charger is capable of handling one megawatt, or one million watts, of electricity,” Kimball says. “That is a substantial amount of power, and we successfully demonstrated how this technology can support it and be used for extreme-fast charging .”

To develop this charging technology, the researchers created an algorithm to maximize the potential charge rate, while also reducing lithium plating, which is a reaction that has previously stood in the way of faster energy transfers.

The team also developed a power converter to connect the energy grid with three vehicles and a stationary battery. The stationary battery’s purpose is to take some of the load off the grid when vehicles use the charger. For another aspect of the project, the team also designed a grid interface algorithm to manage the power demands as efficiently as possible.

The initial aim of this multi-year project was to develop a charging system that could operate at 12 kilovolts, but this was later scaled to 480 volts. However, Kimball says the project still explored the same basic issues, and the team made significant progress toward developing a system that could one day charge EV batteries in about 10 minutes.

Cyril Narishkin, president and CEO of Bitrode, says his company was honored to be involved in this project and work toward charging electric vehicle batteries more expeditiously. 

“This type of collaboration between private businesses and researchers from public universities can lead to some amazing results and make the world better for everyone,” he says. “It was fantastic to work closely with multiple partners toward this common goal.”

Bitrode’s primary objective for the project was to develop and build the actual charger that was used. LG Energy Solution constructed battery packs with advanced thermal management features capable of accepting the extreme charge currents used for this project and provided S&T with additional resources. Ameren provided advisory information and studied how the electricity usage would impact the power grid.

S&T faculty members on the team included Dr. Rui Bo, S&T assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; Dr. Jonghyun Park, associate professor of mechanical engineering; Dr. Mehdi Ferdowsi, Schlumberger Endowed Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and associate dean for research for the College of Engineering and Computing; and Dr. Pourya Shamsi, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. Dr. Robert Landers, a former S&T Curators’ Distinguished Professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, was previously on the research team before taking a new position at University of Notre Dame.

This project received $2.9 million in funding from the DOE. Missouri S&T received $1.8 million from the DOE and provided the same amount in matching funds. The three corporate partners received a total of $1.1 million and provided equal matching funds as well.

For more information about Missouri S&T’s electrical engineering programs, visit ece.mst.edu. Ameren also provides information related to EVs and a variety of incentive programs at amerenmissouri.com and amerenillinois.com.
Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,000 students. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System and located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 101 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top 10 universities for return on investment, according to Business Insider. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu.
This material is based upon work supported by the Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Office under Award Number DE-EE0008449. This manuscript was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.
Project partner LG Energy Solution designed, manufactured and validated an 800V vehicle prototype battery pack capable of repeated 350kW extreme charge (XFC) events. The company also provided an energy storage system (ESS) utilized by the XFC station to meet other grid robustness project requirements. The final prototype battery solution included a novel cold plate that incorporated sufficient heat rejection capability, transferring the large amount of heat generated during extreme fast charging to the coolant medium. To accomplish this, LG Energy Solution utilized a non-traditional welding approach, known as friction stir welding, during cold plate fabrication. Additionally, they provided battery cells and battery modules to allow the S&T research team to evaluate the optimal battery charge profile at the cell, module and pack levels.d pack levels.
On September 14, 2023.
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