CTC has started to develop the method that will shorten the assessment times of the batteries of the European Space Agency

The CTC Technology Centre has successfully passed the first milestone of the project tendered by the European Space Agency (ESA). CTC is already developing an innovative methodology that seeks to minimise the assessment time of the batteries used by the ESA in its space missions. The main objective of this initiative is to have a system that shortens the analysis time of battery cells used in the space field to under five months.

Lithium-ion batteries make up the cells used in the space sector to power various tools and instruments used in space missions. These cells used to have to undergo tedious and rigorous analyses and tests to assess their functioning and living conditions. However, these studies can drag on for up to two years.

With this project, the CTC consortium and StAel-LAB aim to reduce this evaluation time to less than five months. The partners will combine the methodologies used for cell analysis and testing with Artificial Intelligence and advanced simulation techniques to speed up the process and optimise the data collected during the testing.

In this sense, the project’s first milestone was to study the state of the art of technology. This concerns research into the methodologies used to assess battery and the standards by which these analyses are conducted.

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The Technology Centre and its project partner have analysed the methods used in space and terrestrial applications, particularly in the automotive sector. Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable batteries, which is why they are used in electric vehicles. Thus, the automotive industry has numerous references for methods to assess and understand their state of health.

After passing this first milestone, the CTC team will select representative batteries to perform electrochemical and physicochemical tests on to assess their performance when exposed to different situations and analyse the level of damage. With this data, the centre will be able to generate a virtual representation of the cells for computer testing. This way, new assessments via virtual simulations will be possible to expand further the data collected manually so far on the behaviour of the cells.

Analyses using virtual representations optimise time significantly because they allow for more tests in less time and reduce the materials used.

Artificial Intelligence, advanced modelling and simulation and the characterisation of materials are the technological lines of work in this project and on which CTC develops an important part of its activity. In this sense, the initiative is an important support to increase the centre’s specialisation in these key technologies.

The initiative started last May and is being tendered by the European Space Agency on a competitive basis through the Technology Development Element (TDE)programme.

Disclaimer: The view expressed in this publications can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency.