By Prof. Rachid Yazami, KVI PTE LTD, Singapore.
Since their commercialization in 1991 lithium ion batteries has experienced an unprecedented performance enhancement in terms of energy, power, life and costs. This resulted from tremendous worldwide R&D efforts in basic and applied sciences to which both academia and industry strongly contributed.
However, there are still open questions regarding accurate assessment of the states of charge (SOC), of health (SOH) and safety (SOS) together with life prediction and fast charging.
Although sophisticated models and methods have developed models and methods still rely on empirical laws making them lacking reliability as widely known when it comes to battery safety with cellular phones and EV catching fire, for example.
Many technical challenges are facing the future lithium ion battery fast market development especially in electric mobility in which reliability is essential. Artificial intelligence (AI) including learning and problem solving is expected to play a major role where classical methods fall short to address the issues. AI applied to batteries should be based on physics-related strong algorithms enabling real time assessment of the battery states.
At KVI we have developed thermodynamics-based algorithms enabling real time determination of SOC, SOH and SOS. A chip with microprocessor and RF communication capabilities is attached to each cell of a battery system to measure temperature, voltage and current and convert them to entropy and enthalpy data. The later are analyzed and used for refining the algorithms as part of the machine learning.
Prof. Rachid Yazami, is a native of Fez, Morocco and a graduate of the Grenoble Institute of Technology (INPG) electrochemistry and materials science where he also received a Ph.D. on graphite intercalation compounds for lithium battery application, and began his career and rose to research director at CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) in Grenoble, France.
Yazami is the inventor involved in more than 140 patents related to battery technology, including on state of charge, state of health and state of safety of batteries together with ultra-fast charge technologies. He also invented the graphite anode in 1979 currently used in most commercial lithium-ion batteries, an over $30B/year business. Dr. Yazami co-authored over 250 articles including peers reviewed papers, and book chapters on batteries and battery materials and systems.
A founder in 2007 of CFX battery, Inc., (Contour Energy Systems) a primary and rechargeable lithium and fluoride battery start-up company in Azusa, California, Yazami has also been a visiting associate in Materials Science and in Chemistry at Caltech (Pasadena, California) in collaboration with JPL/NASA for 10 years. He served the President position of the International Battery Association (IBA) and as International Scientific Board member of several lithium battery conferences and events.
In 2010, Dr. Yazami joined the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (NTU) where he held the Nanyang Visiting Professor in Materials Science position. Until 2018, he served as the Director of the Energy Storage programs with the Energy Research Institute (ERI@N). Current research areas cover lithium batteries and “Beyond Lithium” future battery technologies, including liquid anode alkali metal-air and fluoride ion batteries. He is also was a PI of battery research at the TUM Create Center of e-mobility, jointly managed by NTU and the Technological University of Munich.
In 2011 Yazami founded KVI PTE LTD a start-up company in Singapore dedicated to battery life and safety enhancement for mobile electronics, large energy storage and electric vehicles applications. KVI is a licensee of Caltech, CNRS and NTU patents invented by Yazami and his team on battery thermodynamics. The technology is currently endorsed by major mobile electronics, EV and battery manufacturers and R&D Centers. Applications include accurate assessments of state of charge, state of health and state of safety and ultrafast battery charging systems.
In recognition of his pioneer work on the graphite anode in lithium-ion batteries, Yazami received several scientific awards, including from NASA, NATO, IBA, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship, the Hawaii Battery, the IEEE, the Draper Prize of the US National Academy of Engineering. He was a finalist of the Global Energy Award (Russia) and of the Marius Lavet Prize (France).
In 2014 Yazami was decorated by HM the King of Morocco and is the recipient of the French Legion of Honor in 2016. Recently he received the “2018’ Takreem Award” in Science and Technology Innovation, considered the Arab Scientist of the Year Award.