ChE Seminar Series: Battery informatics: the (underappreciated) heartbeat of electrifying everything


9:35 am-10:30 am
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Daniel T. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Boeing-Sutter Professor of Chemical Engineering
University of Washington

Title: Battery informatics: the (underappreciated) heartbeat of electrifying everything

Abstract: Society is demanding a reduction in greenhouse gas emission from energy use, propelling growth in clean energy generation and the electrification of transportation, residential, commercial, and industrial sectors of the economy. As a result, large battery packs are a fast growing class of capital assets. This growth has been fueled by a steady 10 – 20% annual decline in price and 5 – 10% annual increase in the energy density of Li-ion cells. While most academic battery research focuses on breakthrough anodes, cathodes, or electrolytes, here we give some examples where multi-scale information gaps in the manufacturing, use, and reuse of whole cells and packs can increase the total cost of ownership for a battery asset. At the manufactured cell-level, we focus on information-rich electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (both linear and nonlinear methods) and thermodynamic analysis to understand the relationship between state of health and degradation of each electrode. We show how the different parities of the DC and AC signals is helpful for disaggregating the whole-cell response into (generally more insightful) half-cell contributions. At a completely different scale, our partnerships with King County Metro has demonstrated the critical role information from physics-based vehicle dynamic models must play in selecting batteries for a transit fleet, given the lack of extensive operating experience with battery electric buses. Eventually, with additional operating data, these physics-based battery electric bus models will enable better predictive maintenance and optimal operation and infrastructure planning. In an ideal battery economy, data and cells will move together so that the owner of a battery asset can authenticate its state of health and mode of degradation, and sell the asset (and its data) so it can be put into service for its next high-value use case.

Bio: Daniel T. Schwartz ( is Boeing-Sutter Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the Clean Energy Institute at the University of Washington. He joined the UW in 1991, following a postdoctoral fellowship at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and Ph.D. at U.C. Davis. An electrochemical engineer by training, his professional home is the Electrochemical Society, where he is a Fellow and recipient of multiple awards for research and teaching. Dan received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math, and Engineering Mentoring from the White House for collaborative graduate research with northwest tribes. As a civic minded Washingtonian, he brings engineering expertise to volunteer service on the Chief Leschi Schools Science and Engineering Advisory Board, the Executive Committee and Board of the CleanTech Alliance, the Energy and Climate Policy Advisory Committee for the State of Washington, and is Chair of the Washington State Academy of Sciences Topical Working Group on Jobs, Infrastructure, and Economic Environment.


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