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DOE awards Eaton $4.9M to develop low-cost fast-charging solution; solid-state transformer, modular chargers

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded power management company Eaton $4.9 million for a program to reduce the cost and complexity of deploying direct-current (DC) fast electric vehicle charging infrastructure (EVCI).

Under the three-year program, Eaton will develop and demonstrate a novel, compact and turnkey solution for DC fast-charging infrastructure that is anticipated to reduce costs by 65% through improvements in power conversion and grid interconnection technology, charger integration and modularity, and installation time.

Ready access to low-cost, fast charging infrastructure is essential for fleet electrification and broader electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Yet, current charging technology can be prohibitively expensive to deploy on a large scale. Eaton and its project partners aim to accelerate fleet electrification by providing a compact, cost-efficient and fully integrated solution that is factory optimized for local grid interconnection and immediate use.

To support this innovative EVCI solution, Eaton will develop a unique solid-state transformer design and modular chargers packaged on a compact skid—expediting installation, reducing required equipment and minimizing deployment cost and footprint.

The Eaton solid-state transformer technology will enable direct connection to the utility medium-voltage distribution system to eliminate the need for additional power conversion devices and associated commissioning. With integrated energy management and charge control software, the EVCI solution will also help avoid peak energy costs by accurately forecasting and managing electrical demand.

As part of the award, Eaton is leading the project with partners including the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), North Carolina State University (NCSU), University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), ITC Holdings, and CALSTART. The project leverages Eaton’s previous DOE-funded research on solid-state transformers, solar-plus-storage and DC systems.

Eaton, NCSU and Pitt are collaborating on the technical development of the solid-state transformer. NREL will provide an initial demonstration site to validate the technology using its Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) platform. ITC Holdings will provide a demonstration site for fleet charging, and CALSTART will support community engagement while providing independent validation of cost and performance improvements.


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