TWAICE uses digital twins to precisely determine and predict the condition of a battery. The software solution empowers battery storage operators to drive their economic battery value and enables comprehensive li-ion battery insurance solutions. The market for energy storage systems is rapidly growing. With the shift towards green energy supply and the fluctuations of power supply from solar or wind energy, battery storage systems are in increasing demand for grid stabilization and trading. Battery operation regularly targets the economic value maximization with regard to electricity prices. In order to grasp the whole picture, it is also necessary to consider battery degradation.
When discussing battery degradation, the relevant parameters are capacity for storable energy and impedance for accessible power. Most manufacturers’ solutions are based on laboratory testing, lack realism, and fail to account for the typical deviations of battery health during use. The current monitoring solutions, on the other hand, fall short of providing comprehensive insights into the aging of the battery and make it difficult to optimize the use for both prices and costs. In addition, cell warranties and system warranties are often disconnected and claims processing requires a solid database and proof.
Digital twin software to improve battery operation and profitability
The two engineers, Dr. Stephan Rohr and Michael Baumann, recognized these issues four years ago when they started their research at the Technical University of Munich. "We first discovered that manufacturers could often hardly tell how the batteries are stressed during use," says Baumann. "This came as a surprise to us, but the actual aging behavior of batteries was a big mystery. We did not want to accept this.” They therefore developed a software that combines a model-based approach with data from operation, providing insights into the actual aging process.
The TWAICE analyses benefit, for example, EES managers. They can now view the status of each battery in real-time and optimize its maintenance and use. How long will the storage last, what is needed to extend its life, how much capacity is left? The software can answer such questions and draw conclusions by monitoring ongoing operations. "We deliver transparency to our customers," explains Michael Baumann. As a big plus, he sees the independence of TWAICE: "When a battery operator or manufacturer provides information on his own battery, these may be one-sided. We, however, are completely neutral – regardless of who built the battery." This allows the operator to monitor batteries from different manufacturers with one solution. By using such digital twins, operators can also take battery aging into consideration, thus, increasing actual profitability.
One of the most significant advantages of TWAICE's battery analytics software is that precise lifetime and residual value predictions enable insurance solutions for li-ion batteries. "Insurances for li-ion battery storage systems are difficult to obtain and seldom comprehensive. Thus, the operation of battery storage poses a significant risk, especially for second-life applications," states Rohr. Through increased transparency, insurance companies gain more confidence and reduce premiums.
How does the digital twin software work?
The software is based on the concept of digital twins. The digital twin can be considered a virtual representation of the actual battery. It is continuously updated with measurement data from the battery.
The creation of the twin relies on laboratory parametrizations of the battery module or cell. With this data, an initial model is created in the cloud. Each battery in operation starts to upload data to the cloud, creating themselves their own twins based on this model. To determine the condition of a battery, the TWAICE software takes many factors, which affect its life and performance, into account, such as charging and operating parameters.
TWAICE was founded as a spin-off from the Technical University of Munich. The market response was overwhelming. Today not only large vehicle manufacturers are interested in their digital twin to accelerate their development process. The digital twin also promotes the operation of stationary power storage systems. “If the operating strategy of a battery is changed over to a new mode after some time, the operator wants to know in advance the consequences for the lifetime”, says Rohr.
The ees International Magazine is specialized on the future-oriented market of electrical energy storage systems, not only from a technological-, but also a financial and application-oriented point-of-view. In cooperation with ees Global, the ees International Magazine informs the energy industry about current progress and the latest market innovations.
Contact: Xenia Zoller - zoller(at)ees-magazine.com