Seven questions with Plett and Trimboli, authors of “Battery Management Systems, Volume III: Physics-Based Methods”

Gregory Plett

Plett and Trimboli’s book, the third and final volume in the series, is a strong resource for battery engineers, chemists, researchers and educators who are interested in advanced battery management systems and strategies based on the best available understanding of how battery cells operate.

Battery Management Systems, Volume III: Physics-Based Methods” was published by Artech House in 2023.

M. Scott Trimboli

The book shows readers how to use physics-based models of battery cells in a computationally efficient way for optimal battery-pack management and control to maximize battery-pack performance and extend life. It covers the foundations of electrochemical model-based battery management systems while introducing and teaching the state of the art in physics-based methods for battery management.

Building upon the content in volumes I and II, the book helps readers identify parameter values for physics-based models of a commercial lithium-ion battery cell without requiring cell teardown; shows how to estimate the internal electrochemical state of all cells in a battery pack in a computationally efficient way during operation using these physics-based models; demonstrates the use the models plus state estimates in a battery management system to optimize fast-charge of battery packs to minimize charge time while also maximizing battery service life; and takes readers step-by-step through the use models to optimize the instantaneous power that can be demanded from the battery pack while also maximizing battery service life.

To share more, Plett and Trimboli answered seven questions about their book below.

1. If you were describing your book to someone outside of your field, what would you say?

Lithium-ion batteries are central to nearly every facet of modern life, powering our phones, our computers and increasingly our vehicles. In order to exploit their many advantages, it is critical to manage these high-energy storage systems with great care to ensure safe and reliable operation. Such management is accomplished using specialized computer algorithms that continuously monitor the health of the batteries and regulate how they are operated.

This book explores advanced methods of lithium-ion battery management that rely on the underlying physical principles on which batteries operate. These principles give rise to highly complex mathematical models that can accurately describe the true behavior. However, to use these models in practical applications requires some serious engineering. This volume takes the reader on a journey through electrochemistry, mathematical modeling, and application to advanced controls.

In our view, this book will be an important reference for industry designers new to electrified transportation and interested in the latest battery techniques aimed at realizing high performance, extended life and safety of operation for lithium-ion batteries. In addition, the volume serves as an excellent component in a graduate academic program on battery modelling and control.

2. How did you get the idea for your project?

The success of co-author Gregory Plett’s first two volumes in the Battery Management Systems series pointed to the need for a third book focusing on physics-based lithium-ion battery modelling and controls methods. The two of us had been collaborating closely for many years – Gregory on modelling and Scott on controls. It seemed a natural fit to combine our efforts on a comprehensive volume addressing both physics-based battery models and their application to advanced BMS control strategies.

3. Did your focus develop or change throughout the research and writing process? 

One recurring challenge was the fact that we were often chasing moving targets insofar as much of the material contained in this volume is new and evolving. It was important to set a “line in the sand” periodically to freeze development at a meaningful point and avoid persistent scope creep. Settling on consistent notation – or having to modify notation – also added to the fun.

No one should underestimate the enormity of a task like this. The sheer amount of background research, detailed mathematical development, and computational verification is intimidating indeed. Perhaps most challenging is exercising the discipline to keep the project on schedule amidst one’s day job and other lifetime responsibilities.

4. Which idea do you write about that most excites, invigorates or inspires you?      

We think that the central premise of communicating highly technical information in an understandable form to a wide audience is itself an exciting challenge. And we were certainly pushed to our limits with this task!

5. Describe your writing space. Where do you do your best work? What time of day? Do you have any writing routines you are willing to share?           

Our most creative and energetic work is in the morning. We work in different places, including our offices at UCCS and home, in a coffee house, on an airplane, or wherever we can steal a few minutes of time.

6. Is there a favorite quote or passage you want to showcase from the book?

There are so many memorable passages from the book, it is profoundly difficult to zero in on just one!

7. What new questions for future exploration have you discovered?

The research behind the book surfaced as many new questions as it answered, which is of course the typical trajectory of any good research effort. There is still much to be learned – and understood – about lithium-ion battery behavior, particularly in how batteries age and how they fail. A better understanding of these phenomena will lead to better models and thereby enable these techniques to have an even greater impact.

Gregory is pursuing the development of a “massively open online course” (MOOC) in the topic area of Kalman filters, which is a background subject for one chapter of this book. Scott would like to write a very approachable and practical book on model predictive control – another of the key methods applied in the present volume.

UCCS celebrates faculty and staff who author and edit books each year. In recognition of their achievement, and as part of the UCCS Author Spotlight initiative, authors are invited to submit details on their published works.