Using crowdsourcing to boost EV battery system invention

Electrical and Electronic Engineering PhD student Valentin Muenzel and his supervision team have launched a crowdsourcing initiative to maximise the impact of an invention for a highly advanced battery system for electric cars.

Through a collaboration with ideas crowdsourcing start-up Marblar, Valentin and his supervisors Iven Mareels, Doreen Thomas, Marcus Brazil and Julian de Hoog are offering bright and creative minds the opportunity to contribute towards improving the technology itself as well as finding alternative applications for it.

In addition to the thrill of turning cutting-edge research into innovative and world-changing products, Marblar supporters also earn digital marbles that allow them to share in the financial rewards, if the technology becomes a commercial success.

The underlying battery system technology invented by the Melbourne School of Engineering researchers represents a novel approach to integrating the hundreds or thousands of individual lithium-ion battery cells that form the basis for large battery packs widely used in applications such as electric cars or stationary energy storage.

Conventional battery systems represent a weakest-link type problem, whereby the weakest battery cell limits the energy capacity of the entire system. By allowing each individual battery cell to be dynamically switched between being connected to the main power side, a secondary side or disconnected altogether, it is possible to overcome this weakest-link type issue and notably increase the useful capacity of the system.

The system allows electric vehicle manufacturers to discard the traditional 12V car battery, which in current electric vehicles is still required for backup purposes, providing weight and cost savings.

Any interested undergraduate or graduate students, alumni or other creative thinkers can read about and contribute to the technology on the Marblar.