Vattenfall R&D Master thesis work on battery energy storage technologies 2021

Safety Issues of Large Format Commercial Lithium-ion Batteries in Stationary Energy Storage Applications

Vattenfall is a leading European energy company with the vision to make fossil-free living possible within one generation. Therefore, we are driving the transition to a more sustainable energy system through growth in renewable production and climate smart energy solutions for our customers. Vattenfall Research and Development (R&D) contributes to the development of tomorrow’s energy system. The Master Thesis is part of the R&D portfolio Customer Products & Solutions which selectively develop Smart Energy Solutions such as new products and services to end customers.

In the transition of fossil energy to green energy sources, energy storage plays an important role to stabilise energy supply with high shares of intermittent renewable energy sources, and to improve power quality and reliability for grid/microgrid power systems. Recently lithium ion batteries (LIBs) as the most promising energy storage technology have been increasingly installed in stationary battery energy storage systems with system size range from small (< 20 kWh for residential storage), to medium (< 1 MWh for local applications) and large (> 1MWh for grid connected services). Several lithium ion battery energy storage systems have been installed in Vattenfall for integration of renewable power generation (e.g. PV solar and wind power) and more projects are ongoing and planning, which cover most of the energy storage services in both grid and microgrid applications. Improving safety performance for energy storage is one of major driving forces for the development of new generation lithium ion batteries. Safety issues are critical for stationary electricity storage in grid/microgrid applications especially using large format LIBs with large-scale BESS capacities. Good knowledge on thermodynamic and mechanisms of BLIB thermal failures are the basis to protect the LIBs from thermal runaway and fires. The codes, standards and regulations (CSRs) are the basic rules to reduce the risks of LIBs and BESS failures, and the essential for ensuring safety issues to be implemented in battery selection, system design, installation, commissioning and operation.


The purpose of this M.Sc. thesis work is to evaluate the status of main safety issues and protection approaches and safety guidelines currently used in stationary LIB BESS and understand the thermodynamics and main mechanisms of typical LIBs thermal failures and hazards. The study results should provide some theoretical basis and practical solutions for safety guideline development.

The MSc thesis work will focus on:
  • Status of safety issues and CSRs development in LIB stationary BESS,
  • Thermodynamics and main mechanisms of typical thermal failures with large format LIBS in stationary BESS,
  • Evaluation of basic data and critical information applied for the protection of thermal failures, fire suppression and cooling systems,
  • Approaches for safety guideline development, and
  • Approaches for risk assessments

Qualification, Application and Time Schedule

It is preferable that the student has studied with master’s program in Chemical Engineering, Energy System or Electrical Power Technology with knowledge on thermodynamics and/or electrochemical energy storage. Your application should contain a CV and transcripts of your studies. Deadline for application in November 30, 2020. The project is planned to start in January 2021 or according to the agreement made with the student.

Supervisor, Contact person, Locations

The master thesis work will be supervised by:

Jinying Yan Vattenfall R&D/KTH Chemical Engineering, or
The working place will be at Vattenfall R&D in Solna Office, Arenastaden, Solna

References for initial study

[1] Warner, J. T., 2019. Chapter 4 – Overview and comparison of different lithium-ion chemistries, in Lithium-Ion Battery Chemistries: A Primer, Warner J.T, Elsevier Inc., pp. 79–97.

[2] Ralon P, Taylor M, Ilas A, Diaz-Bone H, Kairies K-P, 2017. Electricity storage and renewables: cost and markets to 2030. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), October.

[3] Yan J, Alhaider F, Ali HA, Abdeljawad ZN, Li H, Monwe O, 2020. Technical survey of thermal effects on performance and safety of commercial Li-ion batteries in stationary energy storage applications. Technical Report: VRD-R03:2020, September 03.

[4] Wang Q, Jiang B, Li B, Yan Y. 2016. A critical review of thermal management models and solutions of lithium-ion batteries for the development of pure electric vehicles. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 64,106-28.

[5] Feng X, Ouyang X, Liu X, Lu L, Xia Y, He X, 2018. Thermal runaway mechanism of lithium ion battery for electric vehicles: A review. Energy Storage Materials 10, 246–267.

[6] Shurtz CR, Hewson, JC. 2020. Review – Materials science predictions of thermal runaway in layered metal-oxide cathodes: A review of thermodynamics. J. Electrochem. Soc. 167, 090543.

[7] Hill D, 2020. McMicken battery energy storage system event technical analysis and recommendations. Arizona Public Service, 10209302-HOU-R-01, July 18.