Category: Battery Emulation

NH Research’s Enerlab Enterprise Software Streamlines Battery Test Lab Management

Organization Chart - NH Research (NHR)

NH Research Inc. (NHR), a leading provider of power electronics test solutions for the automotive, aerospace and defense, energy storage and renewable energy industries, announces a new enterprise battery test lab management solution, Enerlab™.

Enerlab lab management software is a top level enterprise software solution that monitors, controls and manages battery test stations using Enerchron®. Enerlab empowers the executive, manager and engineer to improve productivity, utilization, and efficiency while ensuring safety by having real-time access and control to important lab and test information, anywhere at any time. Key capabilities range from live camera views to full control of test programs, and customizable dashboards and reporting tools.

Enerlab Desktop Dashboard - NH Research (NHR)Electrification has put battery testing in the critical path to market. The challenge is that testing takes a very long time and significant resources. Enerchron provides the automation and Enerlab provides access to key test information that a successful enterprise needs to stay on schedule and on budget. Due to Covid-19, many businesses are working from home. Enerlab provides a way to remotely manage all battery test stations within a facility, on a single dashboard from one browser.

“Enterprises need a way to streamline battery testing across R&D labs and production lines. Today, it has become even more important to have secure, remote access and capability. Enerlab provides a convenient and effective way to monitor, control and manage all test stations in real-time.” said Martin Weiss, Product Director at NH Research.

Enerchron is a powerful but easy to use test executive created for battery testing to simplify and accelerate your test automation. It breaks the mold of traditional automated battery cycling through its unique variable-based test sequence editor and easy integration and control of external software and hardware. Now, Enerlab provides the tools required to further accelerate battery testing across the enterprise and answer questions for any level of management.

For more information about battery test system solutions, visit:
https://nhresearch.com/software

About NH Research
NH Research (NHR) enables electrification by accelerating innovation, validation and functional testing of today’s technologies. Backed by over 50 years of experience in power conversion and power electronics test systems and instruments, our test solutions deliver the performance, simplicity, and safety that engineers and researchers desire.

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Electric Vehicle Market Drivers & Testing Requirements

Electric Vehicle Transportation - NH Research (NHR)

EV Batteries & Powertrains Increase in Power Levels

As the electric vehicle (EV) industry continues to accelerate, automotive engineers must address new testing challenges for designing higher performance batteries, electric powertrain systems, power electronic components and DC fast chargers. Power levels are increasing across e-mobility markets such as passenger electric vehicles, heavy duty electric trucks, and electric fleets. These market trends require test solutions that can test today’s technologies and tomorrow’s innovations.

Power and voltage levels are transitioning from a traditional 300/400VDC level toward 800/1000VDC. Higher voltages permit faster charging and increase power transfer while reducing vehicle weight. For example, in 2019 most available BEVs were similar to Tesla’s Model 3 and GM’s Chevy Bolt, with a nominal voltage of ~350VDC, whereas Porsche announced the Taycan architecture utilizing a higher 800VDC battery system. This higher voltage allows nearly three times (3x) the additional power to be transferred for the same wire size. Porsche demonstrated this with an IONITY system charging at 350kW, which is nearly 3x the 120kW available through other “fast” supercharging networks.

It is expected that both 800V and 350V vehicles will charge at an electric-only refueling station the same way gasoline and diesel cars do today. Engineers should keep this dual-voltage reality in mind when specifying the power requirements because many of the high-power test systems are only designed for a single range. Selecting a system that can provide both traditional and high-voltage levels ensures that the right equipment is available to meet current and future needs. It is equally important that a battery emulation system reacts with a quick voltage response to changes in current or power draw in order to accurately simulate the electrical storage system (battery).

Auto manufacturers have dramatically increased the relative capacity of the battery packs in their vehicles to reduce “range anxiety”. For example, the 2019 Nissan Leaf has a 50% larger battery compared to older 40kW models, and Tesla’s Model S offers a 100kW battery, that is 66% larger than the original standard-sized battery. Battery capacity and battery performance are always improving, suggesting that engineers must consider flexibility and programmability in selecting a battery test or battery emulation solution.

EV Testing Requires Modular, Scalable Test Solutions

NHR Provides Modular, High Voltage Bi-Directional Power up to 2.4 MW

NHR’s ev test equipment is designed for fully independent operation and can be paralleled, increasing the maximum power and current capability to the level required. This modular expansion through paralleling ensures that you can start testing to today’s application levels, knowing that additional power is available if needed in the future. Higher-power models provide dual ranges, allowing the equipment to test and emulate today’s batteries and provide the right tool that can scale to address increases in battery voltage and power.

The 9300 High Voltage Battery Test System has a dual power range that covers both lower (up to 600 V) and higher power (up to 1200 V) applications using a single product. This modular system can be scaled up to 2.4 MW in 100 kW building blocks, offering a wide operating envelope. With NHR’s battery emulation mode, customers are able to simulate a wide range of battery power levels without having to change test equipment. Alternatively, the 9200 Battery Test System has a multi-channel capability with the possibility to mix and match voltage and current levels at lower power ranges. This battery cycler and battery emulator is expandable in 12kW block sizes and has voltage options from 40V to 600VDC. This series uses the same drivers, touch panel controls, and software options, making NHR your ideal solution partner for both high-power and low-power EV architectures.

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How is a Battery Emulator Different from Power Supplies & Electronic Loads?

Battery Emulator vs. Power Supplies and Loads - NH Research (NHR)

Battery Emulators VS. Power Supplies & Electronic Loads

Battery emulators are bi-directional, whereas power supplies and loads are unidirectional devices. A power supply regulates voltage and expects some amount of current to be drawn. Electronic loads regulate current and expect voltage to be provided. Being uni-directional, these devices are unable to accept or supply power in the reverse direction.

An approach engineers often take is to build their own test setup using sources and loads. This can be challenging, and time consuming, and has many of the disadvantages of the common DC bus architecture described above. Typically, DC sources have a programmed response time of 10 to 100 ms, which is far too slow for today’s EV applications such as electric powertrains. For example, using a DC load to modulate power or provide a return path for back-EMF requires complicated software development, considerable integration and test time, and does not provide an accurate simulation of the battery’s internal resistance. Additionally, the load must consume power at all times, and since it is not regenerative, all of the power is dissipated as heat waste, increasing operating costs and creating uncomfortable work conditions.

Battery emulators maintain a positive DC voltage and can immediately accept or deliver current, allowing power to flow in either direction. More advanced battery emulators, like NHR’s 9300 Battery Emulator, allow further real- world simulation of battery characteristics by modeling the battery packs series-resistance (RINT).

The RINT Model: Accurately Simulating Battery Characteristics

The Internal Resistance (RINT) model provides a simulation of the battery’s internal chemical resistance, along with additional pack resistances created by internal connections, contactors, and safety components. The RINT model can be implemented with a true bi-directional source (Vocv) and a programmable series-resistance (Rs). This model is sufficient for understanding the major characteristics of battery-based resistances and pack resistances. While the number of mathematical models has increased, these more complicated models are used to understand the electro-chemical characteristics of batteries, the nuances of  which have little impact on the overall system when compared with the total resistance of the pack.

NHR’s battery emulators feature this equivalent RINT Model providing an electronically programmable “Battery Emulation” mode. As in a real battery, NHR’s battery emulators adjust the output voltage depending on the direction and amplitude of current flow.  This automatic adjustment of output voltage better simulates real-world battery pack characteristics especially when compared with common DC-bus and source/load simulation systems.

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Battery emulation is ideal for applications such as electric powertrain, fuel cell emulation, energy storage systems emulation, Solar PV inverter testing, DC Bus emulation, and more. For more information about key differentiators and technology considerations for battery emulation, please contact us.

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