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Smart Grid

[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

UC Riverside opening Sustainable Integrated Grid Initiative; integration of solar energy, battery storage and electric and hybrid vehicles

May 15, 2014

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Schematic of the “New Grid Testbed” components, including renewable energy generation, energy storage, smart distribution and electric transportation Click to enlarge.

The University of California, Riverside is opening its Sustainable Integrated Grid Initiative to research the integration of: intermittent renewable energy, such as photovoltaic solar panels; energy storage, such as batteries; and all types of electric and hybrid electric vehicles. It is the largest renewable energy project of its kind in California.

The first two years of operation is supported by a $2-million contract from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, awarded in January 2012. Construction of the initial testbed platform was also supported by an additional $10 million in contributions from UC Riverside and private partners. The testbed, which is located at UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), includes:

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DOE issues draft loan solicitation for up to $4B for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects; drop-in biofuels a key area

April 16, 2014

The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a draft loan guarantee solicitation for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the US that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases. The Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects Loan Guarantee solicitation is intended to support technologies that will have a catalytic effect on commercial deployment of future projects, are replicable, and are market ready.

When finalized, the solicitation is expected to make as much as $4 billion in loan guarantees available to help commercialize technologies that may be unable to obtain full commercial financing.

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Researchers developing DC micro smart grid for charging EV fleets; Li-ion, redox flow batteries and renewables

March 07, 2014

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Up to 30 electric vehicles at a time can recharge in Fraunhofer IAO’s parking garage. Click to enlarge.

A team from Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, together with Daimler AG and the Institute for Human Factors and Technology Management at the University of Stuttgart, is developing both the charging infrastructure and the energy management systems required to manage large fleets of EVs in a project called charge@work.

The aim of charge@work is to design a micro smart grid (MSG) capable of supplying the EV fleet with electricity produced exclusively from renewable sources. This year will see the installation of a photovoltaic unit and a small wind power system at the Fraunhofer Institute Center Stuttgart IZS, where up to 30 electric vehicles at a time can recharge at AC charge spots in the Fraunhofer Campus parking garage.

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Sumitomo installs first large-scale power system using used EV batteries

February 08, 2014

Sumitomo Corporation has developed and installed the first large-scale power storage system which utilizes used batteries collected from electric vehicles. This commercial scale storage system, built on Yume-shima Island, Osaka, will begin operating in February 2014.

Sumitomo Corporation created the joint venture company, 4R Energy Corporation, in collaboration with Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. in September 2010, to address the secondary use of EV lithium-ion batteries. (Earlier post.) The used EV batteries that will be recycled into this large-scale storage system have been recovered and have gone through thorough inspection and maintenance at 4R, to confirm safety and performance. This prototype system (600kW/400kWh) consists of sixteen used EV batteries.

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California ISO publishes roadmap for integrating EVs into grid

December 28, 2013

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Summary of the path to enable EVs to provide grid services. Source: CA ISO. Click to enlarge.

The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) has released a blueprint for integrating electric vehicles (EVs) into the grid: “California Vehicle-Grid Integration Roadmap: Enabling Vehicle-based Grid Services”.

The VGI blueprint outlines three inter-dependent tracks to assess how consumer use of electric vehicles could benefit electric reliability, and to determine policies and technologies necessary to elicit that value through appropriate market signals for a more reliable, sustainable electric grid.

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Honda joins vehicle-to-grid technology demonstration project in partnership with University of Delaware and NRG Energy

December 05, 2013

Honda has joined a demonstration project for experimental vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology aimed at providing a potentially valuable energy storage resource to the electrical grid while providing for more cost-effective ownership of plug-in electric vehicles.

The Honda technology builds off of the research conducted by the University of Delaware and now supported by NRG Energy, Inc. through their eV2g joint venture (earlier post). eV2g came online early in 2013 with the first revenue-generating vehicle-to-grid project, demonstrating the controls, regulatory requirements, and market participation rules for selling energy storage from vehicles into the PJM Interconnection Regulation Market. (Earlier post.)

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Navigant Research forecasts rapid growth in V2G for ancillary services to 2022; $190.7M in frequency regulation revenue by then

October 18, 2013

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that global vehicle-to-grid (V2G)-enabled plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) servicing the ancillary services market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 64.3% from 2013 to 2022.

In North America—which Navigant sees as the strongest initial market opportunity—Navigant sees frequency regulation revenue for PEVs growing from just more than $500,000 in 2013 to just less than $50 million in 2022. Globally, Navigant Research forecasts that frequency regulation revenue will reach $190.7 million by 2022. Navigant Research has not developed revenue forecasts for PEVs participating in demand response (DR) programs, as it is currently unclear how PEV owners will be compensated.

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Opel bringing Ampera with special nav system and Meriva EVs to iZEUS project on intelligent electric driving and recharging

October 02, 2013

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iZEUS Ampera. Click to enlarge.

Opel has presented a specially-equipped Ampera extended range electric vehicle to the Technical Institute Karlsruhe (KIT), marking the beginning of a field trial in the research project iZEUS (intelligent Zero Emission Urban System) in Stuttgart.

The research project iZEUS is developing concepts and practical examples for the integration of electromobility in private and urban commercial transport. The goal of the research is to develop one uniform transport concept that will be tested and demonstrated with the help of fleet tests made up of a significant number of test vehicles. These will ultimately include up to 30 vans (Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CELL) and some 90 electric cars (smart ed, Opel Ampera and Toyota Prius) for private transport.

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Burns & McDonnell develops bi-directional fast chargers for SPIDERS program

September 01, 2013

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Bi-directional fast charger at Ft. Carson. Click to enlarge.

A team of Burns & McDonnell engineers, along with subcontractor Coritech Services, has developed a system of bidirectional, fast-charging stations for a fleet of plug-in electric vehicles at Fort Carson, Colo. This first-of-its-kind system will push power back to the base microgrid when needed to meet installation demand or improve overall power quality.

On 29 August, the team successfully commissioned five bidirectional chargers and the aggregating control system as part of the Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security (SPIDERS) microgrid project at Fort Carson. (Earlier post.) Commissioning was performed using both Boulder Electric Vehicle and Smith Electric trucks, which are being provided for use on SPIDERS under separate agreements with the US Army’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) and Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).

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Rechargeable membrane-less hydrogen bromine flow battery shows high power density

August 16, 2013

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Schematic of reactant flow within the HBLFB. During discharge, liquid bromine is reduced to hydrobromic acid along the lower solid graphite electrode, and hydrogen is oxidized at the upper porous electrode. Credit: Braff et al. Click to enlarge.

MIT researchers have engineered a new rechargeable, membrane-less hydrogen bromine laminar flow battery with high power density. The membrane-less design enables power densities of 0.795 W cm−2 at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, with a round-trip voltage efficiency of 92% at 25% of peak power.

That is about three times as much power per square centimeter as other membrane-less system—a power density that is an order of magnitude higher than that of many lithium-ion batteries and other commercial and experimental energy-storage systems. A paper on the work is published in Nature Communications.

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SoCal Edison white paper shares data about PEV usage and charging

August 06, 2013

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About 50% of the more than 12,000 PEV owners in SCE territory charge at Level 1. Click to enlarge.

Southern California Edison (SCE) released a white paper summarizing learnings from its Electric Vehicle (EV) readiness program. The paper, “Charged Up: Southern California Edison’s Key Learnings about Electric Vehicles, Our Customers and Grid Reliability,” shares information based on customer data and utility operations gathered since SCE began to prepare the distribution system and its customers for widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption in its service territory.

Currently, SCE customers lease or own more than 12,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), both battery electric (BEVs, for about 35%) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs, for about 65%)—about 10% of national EV sales. (SCE estimates that by 2020, there will be about 350,000 PEVs in its service territory.) Because California leads the nation in EV adoption, other utilities and stakeholders in the auto industry may find the information from the white paper useful, SCE suggested.

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Exploring the adoption of EVs in the US, Europe and China; charging scenarios and infrastructure

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Aspirational targets among seven countries participating in the Electric Vehicle Initiative would see growth from just under 2 million EV and PHEVs to just under 20 million by 2020. Source: “Electric Vehicle Grid Integration”. Click to enlarge.

A recently published paper by M.J. Bradley & Associates, commissioned by the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) and the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), examines key drivers of EV adoption in the US, Europe and China, with an emphasis on vehicle charging scenarios and infrastructure.

This report examines hurdles to EV adoption in these regions, and identifies critical success factors that should guide policymakers in the transportation and electric sectors. Accelerating the pace of EV market growth requires a coordinated evolution in both sectors, the report argues, from the power plant to the charging station to the vehicle. Supportive policies should work to ensure that EV owners are able to capture the full economic value of their decision to fuel switch from electricity to gasoline, including any benefits to the grid operator, and any emission reduction benefits, in addition to realizing the savings from replacing gasoline or diesel fuel with electricity.

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Chrysler Group partnering with NextEnergy to evaluate vehicle-to-grid technology

July 18, 2013

Chrysler Group is working with NextEnergy to evaluate vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology using four all-electric minivans. Detroit-based NextEnergy is a non-profit energy-technology and business accelerator.

The battery-powered minivans are connected to a charging module that, using NextEnergy technology, can simulate any electrical grid in the world. Among the scenarios under study is reduced reliance on “spinning reserves”—the expensive practice of having huge generators at the ready to balance spikes in energy demand.

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GM OnStar partners with TimberRock for demo of EV solar charging and market-based regulation; OnStar Demand Response service

July 10, 2013

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The OnStar-TimberRock project. Click to enlarge.

GM’s OnStar announced a project with TimberRock Energy Solutions, Inc. that uses aggregation software and solar charging canopies with integrated storage to manage the flow of solar power to benefit the electric grid. It will be the first “real-world” use of OnStar’s Smart Grid solutions. (Earlier post.)

TimberRock will monitor the output of its solar charging stations, how much stored energy is available and when it can sell energy back to the grid to help meet peak demand. To help balance this system, TimberRock will then manage its fleet of four Chevrolet Volts to help regulate energy flow. This practice is known as market-based regulation.

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Univ. of Maryland team develops tin-film on wood fiber anode for Na-ion batteries; targeting grid storage

June 19, 2013

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Electrochemical performance of the Sn anodes. (a) Galvanostatic charge/discharge voltage profiles at a rate of C/10. (b) Cycling performance of Sn@WF, Al2O3 coated fiber, and Cu current collector at a rate of C/10. The inset illustrates the structure of the wood fiber and Al2O3 coated fiber. Credit: ACS, Zhu et al. Click to enlarge.

A team at the University of Maryland has demonstrated that a material consisting of a thin tin (Sn) film deposited on a hierarchical conductive wood fiber substrate is an effective anode for a sodium-ion (Na-ion) battery, and addresses some of the limitations of other Na-ion anodes such as capacity fade due to pulverization.

The soft nature of wood fibers effectively releases the mechanical stresses associated with the sodiation process, and the mesoporous structure functions as an electrolyte reservoir that allows for ion transport through the outer and inner surface of the fiber. In a paper in the ACS journal Nano Letters, the team reported stable cycling performance of 400 cycles with an initial capacity of 339 mAh/g—a significant improvement over other reported Sn nanostructures. The soft and mesoporous wood fiber substrate can be utilized as a new platform for low cost Na-ion batteries, the team suggests.

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Australian Smart Grid demand management project shows EV drivers could halve charging costs

May 28, 2013

In Australia, as part of the Victorian Government’s Electric Vehicle Trial (earlier post), DiUS Computing delivered a demand management demonstration project using Victoria’s Smart Grid. The project, which ran from June to December 2012, was the first end-to-end use of Victoria’s Smart Meter infrastructure for electricity demand management.

The results of the project, released this week in a project report available via the DiUS website, showed that drivers could save around $250 each year—about 50% of their charging costs—just by using grid-friendly smart charging technology.

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