Thumbnail Image

Tracking battery state-of-charge in a continuous use off-grid electricity system

The growing importance of batteries in the delivery of primary energy, for example in electric vehicles and isolated off-grid electricity systems, has added weight to the demand for simple and reliable measures of a battery’s remaining stored energy at any time. Many approaches to estimating this battery state-of-charge exist, ranging from those based on a full appreciation of the chemistry and physics of the storage and delivery mechanisms used, and requiring extensive data on which to base an estimate, to the naïve and simple, based only, for example, on the terminal voltage of the battery. None, however, is perfect, and able to deliver a simple percentage-full figure, as in a fuel gauge. The shortcomings are due to a range of complicating factors, including the impact of rate of charge, rate of discharge, battery aging, and temperature, to name just some of these. This paper presents a simple yet effective method for tracking state-of-charge in an off-grid electricity system, where batteries are in continuous use, preventing static parameter measurements, and where charge/discharge cycles do not necessarily follow an orderly sequence or pattern. A reliable indication of state-of-charge is, however, highly desirable, but need be only of fuel gauge precision, say to the nearest 12-20%. The algorithm described utilises knowledge of the past, and constantly adapts parameters such as charge efficiency and total charge capacity based on this knowledge, and on the occurrence of specific identifiable events such as zero or full charge.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Computer Science Working Papers
Apperley, M., & Alahmari, M. M. (2013). Tracking battery state-of-charge in a continuous use off-grid electricity system. (Working paper 04/2013). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Department of Computer Science.
University of Waikato, Department of Computer Science
© 2013 M. D. Apperley and M. M. Alahmari.