As a critical subsystem in electric vehicles and smart grids, a battery energy storage system plays an essential role in enhancement of reliable operation and system performance. In such applications, a battery energy storage system is required to provide high energy utilization efficiency, as well as reliability. However, capacity inconsistency of batteries affects energy utilization efficiency dramatically; and the situation becomes more severe after hundreds of cycles because battery capacities change randomly due to non-uniform aging. Capacity mismatch can be solved by decomposing a cluster of batteries in series into several low voltage battery packs. This paper introduces a new analysis method to optimize energy utilization efficiency by finding the best number of batteries in a pack, based on capacity distribution, order statistics, central limit theorem, and converter efficiency. Considering both battery energy utilization and power electronics efficiency, it establishes that there is a maximum energy utilization efficiency under a given capacity distribution among a certain number of batteries, which provides a basic analysis for system-level optimization of a battery system throughout its life cycle. Quantitative analysis results based on aging data are illustrated, and a prototype of flexible energy storage systems is built to verify this analysis.
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