A Segregated Approach for Modeling the Electrochemistry in the 3D Microstructure of Li-ion Batteries and its Acceleration using Block Preconditioners

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Battery performance is strongly correlated with electrode microstructure. Electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries have complex microstructure geometries that require millions of degrees of freedom to solve the electrochemical system at the microstructure scale. A fast-iterative solver with an appropriate preconditioner is then required to simulate large representative volume in a reasonable time. In this work, a finite element electrochemical model is developed to resolve the concentration and potential within the electrode active materials and the electrolyte domains at the microstructure scale, with an emphasis on numerical stability and scaling performances. The block Gauss-Seidel (BGS) numerical method is implemented because the system of equations within the electrodes is coupled only through the nonlinear Butler–Volmer equation, which governs the electrochemical reaction at the interface between the domains. The best solution strategy found in this work consists of splitting the system into two blocks—one for the concentration and one for the potential field—and then performing block generalized minimal residual preconditioned with algebraic multigrid, using the FEniCS and the Portable, Extensible Toolkit for Scientific Computation libraries. Significant improvements in terms of time to solution (six times faster) and memory usage (halving) are achieved compared with the MUltifrontal Massively Parallel sparse direct Solver. Additionally, BGS experiences decent strong parallel scaling within the electrode domains. Last, the system of equations is modified to specifically address numerical instability induced by electrolyte depletion, which is particularly valuable for simulating fast-charge scenarios relevant for automotive application.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number42
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Scientific Computing
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2C00-75032


  • Block preconditioners
  • Electrochemistry
  • FEniCS
  • Lithium-ion batteries
  • PETSc


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