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Development of battery-supercapacitor management systems for electric vehicles

Electric vehicles (EV) consuming low-carbon electricity are important assets to decarbonise the transport sector. Currently, most battery-electric vehicles including Tesla and Nissan use lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries as the energy source. Li-ion batteries have high energy and power capacities and have found commercial success in the EV markets. However, Li-ion batteries suffer from significant cell degradation during deep and rapid discharge. The driving behaviour of individuals directly influences the energy discharged from the EV. To prolong Li-ion batteries lifetime and for optimal operation, supercapacitors can also be an additional energy source with rapid discharge characteristic and high power density. For EVs, the battery management system ensures that the rechargeable battery operates within the safe operating region and also with maximum efficiency.

This research project aims to study the technical and economic viability of a hybrid energy storage system for EVs comprising of Li-ion batteries and supercapacitors. The system and its components will be modelled to evaluate the energy storage system’s electrical and thermal performances under different driving cycles.

The objectives of this research project include:

• To develop a battery-supercapacitor management system for the optimal operation of Li-ion battery and supercapacitor in EVs.

• To determine the optimal sizing of energy and power capacities for the battery-supercapacitor system.

• To investigate the electrical drive system (e.g., power converters) with battery-supercapacitor management systems.

• To validate the system with hardware-in-the-loop and software-in-the-loop studies.

• To investigate the techno-economic viability of the hybrid energy storage system in EVs.

Essential Requirements

The applicant should have a good first degree and/or a master’s degree (or other equivalent experience) in Electrical/Electronic Engineering. The applicant ideally should have an excellent understanding in power electronic converters, control systems and good understanding in electric vehicular technologies, battery technologies and in relevant simulation tools and computational platforms, such as MATLAB/Simulink.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

Meet the Supervisor(s)


Chun Sing Lai - Dr Chun Sing Lai is a Lecturer and module leader for EE1618 Devices and Circuits, taught at Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunication (CQUPT). He is an academic member of the Transnational Education (TNE) CQUPT programme for BEng Electronics and Communications Engineering. He is a member of Brunel Interdisciplinary Power Systems (BIPS) Research Centre. Dr Lai is a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Leeds. His current interests are in power system optimisation, energy system modeling, data analytics, and energy economics for renewable energy and storage systems. From 2018 to 2020, Dr Lai was an EPSRC Research Fellow with the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Leeds and also a Visiting Research Fellow with the Department of Electrical Engineering, School of Automation, Guangdong University of Technology, China. He is Vice-Chair of the IEEE Smart Cities Publications Committee. He organised the workshop on Smart Grid and Smart City, IEEE SMC 2017 in Canada and workshop on Blockchain for Smart Grid, IEEE SMC 2018 in Japan. He was a Publications Co-Chair for IEEE International Smart Cities Conference ISC2 (2020 and 2021). Dr Lai is a Technical Programme Chair for IEEE ISC2 2022 and Publications Co-Chair for 2022 the 12th International Conference on Power and Energy Systems (ICPES 2022). Since 2022, Dr Lai is Associate Vice President, Systems Science and Engineering of the IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society (IEEE/SMCS). Since 2020, Dr Lai is Vice-counsellor for Brunel University London IEEE Student Branch. Dr Lai is an Associate Editor for IET Energy Conversion and Economics and Frontiers in Energy Research (Smart Grids). He is a Topics Board member for Electronics and Reviewer Board member for Applied Sciences, as well as Guest Editor for several IEEE and MDPI journals such as: Applied Sciences: "Electrification of Smart Cities" (deadline: 30 June 22); Electronics: "Memristive Devices and Systems: Modelling, Properties & Applications" (deadline: 01 Oct 22). He is a Topic Editor for MDPI: "Enabling Computing Techniques for Wide-Area Power System Applications" (deadline: 30 April 2023). Dr Lai has co-authored one book on "Smart Grids and Big Data Analytics for Smart Cities", Springer, 2021 and a book editor for "Electrification of Smart Cities", Electronics 2022. He is a Member and Contributor to IEEE Task Force on Enabling Paradigms for High-performance Computing in Wide Area Monitoring Protective and Control Systems. As the lead author, he has contributed to three journal articles that appeared on the Web of Science as Highly Cited Papers.

Mohamed Darwish - Dr Mohamed K Darwish - Course Director for MSC in Advanced Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Reader in Power Electronics and Systems, Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences, Brunel University London, UK. He has over 35 years experience of research and teaching in the area of Power Electronics and Power Systems. His research interests include Power Active Filtering techniques, UPS systems, Electric Vehicles, and Power Quality issues. Dr Darwish is also a Chartered Engineer and the IET Student Counsellor at Brunel.

Related Research Group(s)

Brunel Interdisciplinary Power Systems

Brunel Interdisciplinary Power Systems - Power systems analysis for transmission and distribution networks, smart grids; congestion monitoring in transmission networks; simulation and analysis of new energy markets; optimisation of the design and operation of electrical networks; condition monitoring of power station and power system plant; energy-efficient designs for underground electric power cables.