Exhibitor Interview: Joel Sylvester, CTO, Dukosi Ltd

Dukosi headshotWith almost 30 years’ experience with electronics and systems, including a decade in chip design services that led to the development of Dukosi's unique Cell Monitoring System, we spoke to CTO, Joel Sylvester about the advantages of this innovative concept ahead of their exhibit at The Battery Show Europe 2019.

Can you tell us a little about your disruptive Cell Monitoring System?

Traditional cell monitoring uses devices that haven’t changed much since the 1990s. Dukosi looked at the requirements for high-voltage battery management, at what was possible with modern system-on-chip design, and came up with a solution that is more powerful than traditional approaches but will cost less. To do this we had to invent a novel near-field communications technology to build a data network across the battery, while maintaining isolation between cells.

What advantages does this concept offer in terms of scalability?

Our Cell Monitoring System does just that: it monitors individual cells. Data processing and safety are also handled on cell. The near-field communications allow us to assemble any number of cells into any configuration. This means that we can scale to any number of cells. The processing power scales with the number of cells, and because the measurements are processed locally, the communications network does not become saturated with data. The near-field communications can provide isolation to many kilovolts at no extra cost. The bigger and higher voltage the battery, the better for our solution.

Could you say something about cell level intelligence in the context of battery downtime, charging speeds, reliability and battery pack sizes?

Many battery management systems work on the assumption that all cells are identical, until reaching the point that one of them isn’t. By each cell determining its own state, independent of all other cells, it is possible to manage a pack to take account of the weakest cell. The pack can be charged at the fastest rate, dependent on the weakest cell rather than an assumption about all cells. This knowledge will reduce downtime, as it facilitates preventative maintenance, keeping a high-availability system running.

Meanwhile, building the cell monitoring system into the existing cell volume, and removing the wiring harness and slave boards, optimises the battery pack envelope, reducing weight and space.

In the automotive industry, are applications for your system found right across the BEV/HEV/PHEV portfolio?

Absolutely. Battery-electric have the biggest batteries, so see the biggest benefit from reducing weight, volume and complexity. But hybrid and plugin-hybrid have some of the highest-performance packs, demanding most of the cells and therefore the CMS.

What new trends do you anticipate and what market demands do you see evolving/changing over the next five years?

There will be a bigger demand for ‘smarts’. Batteries are high-value assets, and the data they can provide will help close the loop on battery design and use. Second-life applications may become more prevalent, so the OEMs will have to better consider the whole lifecycle of batteries.

Does co-location with the Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo Europe offer you an enhanced experience in Stuttgart?

Of course. The battery world is small and sometimes too inward looking, obsessed by chemistry. It is essential to see the end users.

Could you describe your role in the UK-ABSC consortium and what the implications might be for high-performance EVs?

The UK-ABSC project was set up to develop parts of a battery supply chain in the UK. Dukosi’s part was to provide the innovative battery management solution that can be integrated into the cells. The project was very much around developing a high MRL and TRL technology rather than building a product, and it has achieved this with our CMS. High-performance EVs are an obvious niche application, and it is in niche markets that the UK-ABSC solution is particularly effective. However, from Dukosi’s perspective our CMS technology has applications in all types of EV, industrial, marine and energy storage applications. The bigger the battery, the better.

Dukosi Limited will be exhibiting at The Battery Show Europe in Stand 1008