Press Release

NTU Singapore and Durapower develop cloud-based AI tech for safer lithium-ion batteries

Wed 8 Nov 2023

Researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Durapower have introduced a cloud-based technology poised to significantly improve the lifespan and safety of lithium-ion batteries.

This innovation is particularly timely as the push for renewable energy and electric vehicles intensifies globally.

The technology, which harnesses the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, is designed to mitigate risks associated with lithium-ion batteries, such as fire hazards, which are a concern in warm and humid climates.

The research, spearheaded by NTU’s Assistant Professor Hung Dinh Nguyen and Durapower’s CEO Mr. Kelvin Lim, has been in development for the past four years under the support of the Energy Market Authority (EMA) and the National Research Foundation, Singapore (NRF).

Assistant Professor Hung Dinh Nguyen said: “Our main aim is to enhance the safety and efficiency of large-scale energy storage systems and Electric Vehicles, as a single faulty cell can spark off a chemical fire that is extremely hard to put out. Since our technology is cloud-based, it is scalable and can easily be adapted for consumer electronics such as mobility devices, laptops and mobile phones, helping the batteries to last longer and in the long run, reduce electronic waste and carbon footprint.”

Their Fire & Explosion Management System (FXMS), employing digital twin technology to create a virtual counterpart of a physical battery, enables precise real-time monitoring and can forecast battery conditions years in advance with high accuracy. The system is currently undergoing trials at a container-sized data centre at the NTU Smart Campus.

Digital twins, which are virtual replicas of facilities or objects in the real world, are a pivotal development in the Infocomm industry, as it enables more effective and safer decision-making through AI recommendations. It is also a research area strongly supported by the NTU 2025 Strategic Plan, under its Innovation & Entrepreneurship initiative launched earlier this year.

As battery packs age, such as those in EVs, they are commonly used for second-life applications such as energy storage and finally be recycled into new lithium-ion batteries. In the case of large battery storage systems like those used for renewable energy grids or data centres, the digital twin allows for the direct management of batteries, such as rerouting electrical load to prolong the life of weaker batteries or to temporarily stop the use of a battery pack until it can be replaced.

Chief Executive Officer of Durapower Group, Mr Kelvin Lim, said: “With the global mandate for sustainability, smart mobility, and a carbon neutral future, we are seeing widespread adoption of energy storage systems and uptake of EVs. The outcomes from this joint initiative with the EMA, NTU and Durapower on FXMS will enable better decisions based on data and analytics, facilitating optimal battery health, performance, and longevity.”

The development of a customisable software platform like FXMS furthers efforts towards robust and comprehensive digital infrastructure based on machine learning and AI to capture increasingly complex battery and energy usage in the EV market.

NTU Vice President (Industry) Professor Lam Khin Yong highlighted the value of collaboration in propelling green economy technologies: “Combining our deep expertise in areas such as sustainability, battery technology and deep tech like IoT and AI, with Durapower’s industry knowledge and experience, we can propel innovation quicker and boost the competitiveness of our local SMEs globally in fast-rising industries such as EVs and energy storage systems.”

The NTU team, alongside Durapower, plans to expand the trial of this technology to larger data centres and tailor it for various applications and battery systems, marking a stride in sustainable energy solutions.

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