Battery Management System (BMS) is a system to manage the battery, its main function is to detect the battery voltage, load, and temperature in real-time, to prevent the battery from over-charging, over-voltage, over-current, over-temperature, and to extend the battery life by protecting the battery while giving full play to the best performance of the battery. According to different structures, battery management systems can be divided into distributed BMS, centralized BMS, modular BMS, and so on. What sets apart these three types of battery management systems? Which one aligns best with your company’s specific application scenario? Through this blog, we will take you through the definitions of these three topologies, look at the similarities and differences between them, and the factors to consider when choosing the one that best suits your needs.
Centralized BMS vs Distributed BMS vs Modular BMS: What Are They?
A BMS is a system that is integrated with other devices such as battery chargers, sensors, and the battery pack itself. BMS can be centralized, distributed, or modular according to their topology. Let’s take a closer look at them.
In a centralized BMS architecture, a single BMS printed circuit board (PCB) incorporates a control unit responsible for overseeing all battery cells using multiple communication channels. This configuration results in a BMS that is bulky and less flexible but cost-effective.
Centralized BMSs hold a prominent position in the market due to their simpler and more economical design and construction compared to other topologies. According to a report by Grand View Research, centralized BMSs contributed to over 43.0% of global revenue in 2022.
In the case of distributed BMS, there exists a separate slave control unit for each cell with a communication line established between itself and the cell. The BMS operates in a master-slave configuration where each slave control unit communicates with the master control unit. The disadvantage of this topology is the added cost, while the advantage is the scalability of hardware as the new cells can be installed and decommissioned from the battery pack. This permits integration with newer like-to-like modules without undergoing massive hardware or software upgrades.
A modular BMS combines elements from both centralized and distributed topologies. This arrangement is alternatively referred to as decentralized, star, or master and slave topology. In this setup, multiple interconnected control units (slaves) are responsible for monitoring specific groups of cells within the battery. These slaves are connected to a central control unit or master, ensuring the entire battery system’s overall integrity and safety. The modular BMS topology strikes a balance between cost and design complexity.
According to Precedence Research’s analysis, the modular topology segment of the global BMS market is projected to experience the fastest growth in the coming decade.
Centralized BMS vs Distributed BMS vs Modular BMS: Comparison Table
Centralized BMS vs Distributed BMS vs Modular BMS: Which one is better?
Deciding which BMS architecture is more favorable relies on the particular needs and objectives of the application. Each BMS category possesses its own strengths and weaknesses, rendering them better suited for specific situations. Let’s explore the pros and cons of each BMS and the factors to consider when choosing the appropriate one:
Advantages and Disadvantages of each BMS
– Simplicity and low cost due to a single control unit for the entire pack.
– Easy to implement for small-scale systems and non-critical applications.
– Limited scalability.
– High risk of a single point of failure, as the whole system relies on the central unit’s proper functioning.
– High scalability, making it suitable for larger-scale systems and critical applications.
– Enhanced redundancy and fault tolerance, as each cell or group has its own BMS unit.
– Communication among units allows for better coordination and data sharing.
– Increased complexity and cost compared to centralized BMS, especially for smaller systems.
– Maintenance and troubleshooting may be more challenging due to multiple BMS units.
– Flexibility and customization, allowing for optimization for specific applications.
– Fault tolerance and scalability due to the modular structure.
– Efficient maintenance by isolating and replacing faulty modules without affecting the entire system.
– Higher complexity and cost, particularly for smaller battery packs, than centralized BMS.
– Although it offers fault tolerance, it may not match the level of redundancy provided by distributed BMS.
Battery Pack Size and Configuration: The size and configuration of the battery pack are crucial in determining the appropriate BMS architecture. Smaller packs may work well with a centralized BMS due to its simplicity and lower cost, while larger packs may benefit from distributed or modular BMS for scalability and redundancy.
Scalability Requirements: Consider whether the battery system needs to be easily scalable, allowing for the addition or removal of battery cells or modules. Distributed or modular BMS provides better scalability compared to centralized BMS.
Redundancy and Fault Tolerance: Redundancy and fault tolerance are vital for systems where continuous operation is crucial. Distributed and modular BMS offer a higher level of redundancy, ensuring that the failure of one unit does not impact the entire battery system.
Maintenance and Troubleshooting: Assess the ease of maintenance and troubleshooting. Centralized BMS may be simpler to maintain due to fewer BMS units, while distributed and modular BMS might require additional effort to diagnose and fix issues across multiple units.
Complexity and Cost: Assess the level of complexity the application can handle effectively. Centralized BMS tends to be simpler and more cost-effective, while distributed and modular BMS can be more complex and costly due to multiple BMS units.
Future Insights of Centralized, Distributed, and Modular BMS
In 2022, the modular BMS segment held the dominant position among the three categories: centralized BMS, distributed BMS, and modular BMS. It contributed to over two-thirds of the total revenue in the global battery management system market. The extensive adoption of the modular BMS is primarily due to its remarkable flexibility in serving various applications, such as electromobility and energy storage systems. This adaptability allows it to play a crucial role in the development and validation of battery systems. As a result, modular BMS is expected to rise rapidly throughout the projected cycle due to advantages such as demand-based scalability, cheaper maintenance costs, and immunity to interference, and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 20.7% over the period 2022-2032.
However, the value of centralized BMS will reach $15.9 billion from 2023 to 2032, representing a growth rate of 20.2%. Centralized battery management systems offer cost advantages in design as all essential components, such as the pack management unit and module management unit, are interconnected on a printed BMS circuit board. This drives the growth of the BMS market in the centralized topology category.
The distributed BMS field in the future will also show a higher compound annual growth rate. 2022, the global distributed BMS system market size of approximately $775.7 million, is expected to reach $1167.6 million in 2029, 2023 -2029 CAGR of 6.0%. The rise in popularity of distributed BMS can be attributed to the regulated flow of energy within and outside the battery pack, especially in electric vehicles. Additionally, the increasing adoption of distributed BMS is influenced by the expansion of installed capacity and the growth of renewable energy generation. In addition, distributed BMS solutions are also popular because of their simple installation and high reliability.
Choosing the most appropriate BMS architecture depends on the specific battery management system requirements of the application, the size of the battery pack, the desired level of redundancy, and the available budget. Centralized BMS remains suitable for simpler, smaller-scale systems, while distributed BMS and modular BMS offer increased fault tolerance and scalability, making them more fitting for larger and more critical applications. As battery technology continues to advance, BMS architectures will also evolve to meet the evolving demands of energy storage and energy management.
MOKOEnergy is a company specializing in providing new energy solutions. With over 17 years of R&D experience, our products and services are widely used in key power supply applications such as new energy development, residential, grid, transportation, commercial and industrial. BMS architectures for these applications include centralized, distributed, and modular. Our customers have shown positive feedback for all three architectures, and we continuously strive to enhance them to meet the demands of a wider consumer base. If you have any additional questions regarding battery management systems, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our knowledgeable team of experts is ready to assist you in finding the perfect solution for your needs.
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