Fuentek's Tech Transfer Blog

NASA Develops Novel Battery Management System

Excellent for use in electric vehicles, other applications

Nothing is worse than waking up on a cold morning and discovering that the battery in your vehicle is dead, especially if your vehicle is a spacecraft. Fortunately, NASA engineers have developed technology to prevent failure in critical battery systems used in spacecraft. The innovation also is available for technology transfer via licensing for use in vehicles here on Earth.

Developed by innovators at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the Battery Management System (BMS) offers safe and potentially low-cost management for high-voltage battery systems, including lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery systems used in many varieties of electric vehicles, including plug-in and other hybrids. Other potential applications for NASA’s intellectual property include electric utility storage for renewable energy, distributed energy storage systems (DESS) for smart grids, telecommunications backup systems, uninterruptible power systems, and other high-voltage critical battery systems.

The BMS comprises a simple and reliable circuit that detects a single bad cell within a battery pack of hundreds of cells, and it can monitor and balance the charge of individual cells in series. It also provides fault detection of a single bad cell in parallel with other cells in a battery string.

The system offers significant advantages over competing technologies. In conventional systems, cell monitoring and balancing are achieved either through complex electronic circuitry at each cell or via electrical connectors having multiple contacts that connect to external circuitry. This can be complicated, cumbersome, and potentially damaging when used with high-voltage batteries. This novel BMS provides a much safer cell balancing method that uses fewer pins and charges only the individual cell that needs a charge.

Thanks to the BMS, you don’t ever have to worry about being stranded on the side of the road—or the solar system—again.

For more information about this technology commercialization opportunity, contact: Fuentek, LLC at or (919) 249-0327.