SMIN Power Group Founder Recognized In The University Network Article, “Women Killing It In Sustainability Research”

Ngalula Mubenga

Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering Technology, The University of Toledo

Ngalula Mubenga grew up in an energy-scarce region in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, and was inspired by her near-death experience to become an electrical engineer.

Ngalula Sandrine Mubenga

When she was 17 years old, her appendix burst — but since there was no power at the hospital, she had to wait three days before she could be operated on.

Now, at The University of Toledo, Mubenga has developed an energy storage system that increases the longevity and performance of battery packs in electric vehicles, satellites, planes, grid stations and more.

In the past, battery engineers attempted to sustain the balance of their batteries by using either a passive equalizer, which loses valuable energy, or an active equalizer, which costs 10 times as much as a passive equalizer.

This new revolutionary technology, called a bilevel equalizer, combines the low cost of passive equalizers with the high performance of an active equalizer.

The bilevel equalizer works by grouping battery cells into sections of four to 14 cells. Within each section, each specific cell is balanced with a passive equalizer, and an active equalizer works to balance the voltage of the entire section.

“People in the industry were aware of the weak cell problem, but could not do anything because of the cost,” Mubenga said.

“The bilevel equalizer offers an option that is low cost and has high performance. This is an option that is ideal for lithium ion battery energy storage systems that must be cost efficient and last a long time. The bilevel equalizer increases the discharge capacity by over 30 percent and increases the longevity of the battery pack because the cells are balanced.”

Mubenga has modeled most of her professional career after aiding those in her native country, and recognizes that the advancement of lithium-ion batteries would help the economy of The Democratic Republic of Congo.

Source:  Colarossi, N, 2018, Published September 26, 2018 by The University Network in “Women Killin’ It In Sustainability Research” retrieved online September 28, 2018 from https://www.tun.com/blog/women-killin-it-sustainability-research/

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