Battery Thermal Characterization

Research output: NRELPresentation


The operating temperature is critical in achieving the right balance between performance, cost, and life for both Li-ion batteries and ultracapacitors. The chemistries of advanced energy-storage devices - such as lithium-based batteries - are very sensitive to operating temperature. High temperatures degrade batteries faster while low temperatures decrease their power and capacity, affecting vehicle range, performance, and cost. Understanding heat generation in battery systems - from the individual cells within a module, to the inter-connects between the cells, and across the entire battery system - is imperative for designing effective thermal-management systems and battery packs. At NREL, we have developed unique capabilities to measure the thermal properties of cells and evaluate thermal performance of battery packs (air or liquid cooled). We also use our electro-thermal finite element models to analyze the thermal performance of battery systems in order to aid battery developers with improved thermal designs. NREL's tools are used to meet the weight, life, cost, and volume goals set by the U.S. Department of Energy for electric drive vehicles.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages32
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NamePresented at the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation, 5-9 June 2017, Washington, D.C.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5400-68275


  • battery thermal efficiency
  • battery thermal management
  • calorimetry
  • cell thermal design
  • heat generation
  • lithium-ion battery


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