Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

David A Jr Wetz


Future stationary and mobile microgrids may be deployed with a number of high power electrical loads that operate transiently. The transient nature of the loads will impart high stress on a microgrid’s power system, possibly pushing it outside of the acceptable power quality standards. To restore power quality and increase system reliability, it is being proposed that electrochemical energy storage systems be used as a buffer. Energy storage systems that store a great deal of energy and could be used with open circuit potentials (OCPs) as high as 1 kV. Since size and weight on a mobile microgrid is limited, it is desired that energy storage systems be designed as compactly as possible. Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are among those with a great deal of promise due to their high combined power and energy density that allows them to be very versatile as both the source and sink of high power aboard a mobile platform. Lithium-ion batteries are available in many different chemistries and each offers its own advantages and disadvantages with respect to voltage, power density, energy density, impedance, and safety. In most energy storage application LIBs should be considered although they may not be the most optimal solution. 3 Another electrochemical energy storage option of interest is the use of ultracapacitors (UCs). Although they are not as energy dense as LIBs, they do offer very high power densities, have very low impedance, and have a long cycle life when cycled at high rates. Due to their high energy densities, LIBs are a more viable solution for loads operating in continuous modes of operation, like during operational scenarios requiring greater than a second or so or conduction. On the other hand, because of their very low equivalent series resistance (ESR), UCs are better suited for sourcing transient loads that require high power in very short duration, i.e. less than a second. The research presented here is comprised of three different tests that provide insight into electrochemical energy storage integration challenges within high voltage distributed generation power system architectures. These energy storage systems will likely be located in a different area of the microgrid than the loads they provide power to. Long cables will be used to connect busses that provide power to different loads introducing inductance to the system based on the length and diameter of those cables. High power electrical loads combined with the inductance introduced can lead to voltage transients over the energy storage systems OCP. The transients induced may even cause damage to electrochemical energy storage devices used to buffer the load and could result in punch through on a battery’s separator causing the cell to fail, possibly leading to severe damage to system components. Battery failure often leads to thermal runaway, a process in which an increase in temperature changes the conditions in a way that causes a further increase in temperature [1]. Each of the different battery chemistries fail in a different way and each has a different level of thermal runaway volatility. When a LIB fails, the high temperature leads to an increase in pressure within the cell that causes an internal burst diaphragm to rupture in attempt to relieve pressure and prevent 4 further thermal increase. Rupturing of the burst diaphragm releases internal gases in the form of vented organic electrolyte compounds to the surrounding environment. The chemical makeup of the vented gas is chemistry dependent with different levels of toxicity and flammability. In most lithium ion batteries, the electrolyte solution consists of combinations of linear and cyclic alkyl carbonates including ethylene carbonate, dimethyl, diethyl, and ethyl-methyl carbonates (EC, DMC, DEC, and EMC) as well as electrolyte salts such as LiPF6 or LiClO4 [2]. Over a cell’s useful lifetime, the electrolyte decomposes slowly, however when they are exposed to extreme voltage or temperature conditions, the electrolytes can react rapidly with the active electrode materials to release significant heat and gas [2, 3]. Thermal runaway begins as temperatures in excess of 200°C are reached, however breakdown of the solvents can occur slightly sooner. During these processes, many different gas products are produced, most of which are hydrocarbons with various levels of toxicity and flammability. Due to the dangerous nature of electrochemical energy storage integration challenges within high voltage distributed generation power system architectures, the research presented here is comprised of three different tests that provide insight into potential methods and solutions.


Energy storage, Electrochemical energy storage, Power systems, Microgrids, Microgrid applications, Ultracapacitors, Lithium-ion battery


Electrical and Computer Engineering | Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington