• Research
CityU’s smart system for battery monitoring can significantly save time and energy

Emily Law
car photo
CityU research team led by Professor Chung developed a smart real-time battery state and health diagnostics system for testing the state of a battery on a vehicle. (1st row from left: Professor Henry Chung Shu-hung and Cheng Chun-sing; 2nd row from left: Dr Ricky Lau Wing-hong and Liu Chun-for)

 

A smart real-time battery state and health diagnostics system developed by City University of Hong Kong (CityU) can significantly reduce diagnosis time from hours to three minutes and save the loss of energy by 90%.

The system, as one of CityU’s Smart City research projects, has been developed by a team led by Professor Henry Chung Shu-hung from the Department of Electronic Engineering, with the collaboration of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD).

“The new system can perform real-time monitoring and requires only three minutes to obtain detailed data on a battery’s state of charge and conditions of health. It saves a lot of time compared to the requirement of 10 hours by conventional devices to complete such monitoring procedures,” Professor Chung said.

With the support and collaboration of the EMSD that started at the end of 2014, CityU applied for funding from the Innovation and Technology Fund to develop the system. When it was completed, Professor Chung worked with the EMSD to conduct a successful test on government vehicles and data centres of the government.

EMSD said it was delighted to collaborate with CityU to enhance the technology of battery monitoring. “The new system developed by CityU enhances the efficiency of battery monitoring, improves battery reliability, and reduces the time cost and manpower for battery maintenance. We will further collaborate with CityU to explore the feasibility to install the system on government vehicles to further assess its battery monitoring performance,” said Mr Lee Kam-hung, Senior Engineer of the EMSD.

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The new system has the function of data recording to analyse a battery’s state of charge and health.

 

Professor Chung said that the new system has many unique features. “The major advantage is that the system can perform real-time monitoring. Without the need to isolate the battery in an electrical system, the time required for monitoring can be significantly decreased. For example, the time for monitoring the battery system of a data centre can be reduced from one day to only three minutes,” he said.

When using the current device to check a battery system for a data centre, the back-up battery system has to be turned on before the monitoring procedures start. All the energy in the batteries of the system has to be released as well and the batteries recharged in order to know their conditions. In contrast, with the power electronics technology, the new system can reuse the power of a battery system to do the test and can thus save on energy losses by 90%.

As the new system installed on government vehicles offers a professional mode function, it can allow engineers to obtain various parameters of a battery’s condition. It helps them more accurately estimate the ageing condition of a battery and replace it at the most optimal time before it fails to function. Consequently, a vehicle’s reliability can be boosted.

In addition, the new system makes use of artificial intelligence (AI) for testing the state of a battery. “With the function of data recording and the use of AI to analyse a battery’s state of charge and health, the new system allows engineers to better determine the life of a battery. It can therefore significantly save manpower and time cost by avoiding unnecessary battery replacement and arranging maintenance work more efficiently,” Professor Chung said.

The accuracy of the new system for monitoring the performance and the life expectancy of a battery is comparable to a large system currently in use. With a patent granted to this system, CityU has worked with its business partner and launched a handy and compact design for the market.

Professor Chung said that his team would continue to study how to boost the life expectancy of a battery and reduce electronic waste in order to protect the environment and foster the development of Smart City.