Increased Performance of Battery Packs by Active Equalization

Jonathan W. Kimball, Missouri University of Science and Technology
Brian T. Kuhn
Philip T. Krein

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Battery packs for most applications are series strings of electrochemical cells. Due to manufacturing variations, temperature differences, and aging, the individual cells perform differently. When a complete pack is charged and discharged as a single two-terminal circuit element, some cells are chronically overcharged, undercharged, or overdischarged, all of which act to reduce cell life. The performance and life of the complete pack is limited by the weakest cell. Many methods have been proposed and explored to mitigate this problem. In the present work, a switched-capacitor converter is shown to be a simple and effective method to maintain equal cell or monoblock charge conditions. Design criteria are discussed.