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Posted: Nov 09, 2012
Integrating electric vehicles into power grids
(Nanowerk News) Europe is paving the way for a transition from fossil fuels toward sustainable forms of energy. EU-funded scientists are developing technology and tools to facilitate integration of electric vehicles (EVs) into electricity grids.
With the increasing prevalence of electric or hybrid vehicles, electric power suppliers are facing a new challenge, namely integration of plug-in EVs into electricity grids.
Distributed energy resources (DERs) are a relatively new concept in the electric power industry that may play an important role in planning for future deployment of EVs. They are flexible and modular power generation or storage units connected directly to the distribution network or to the network on the customer side.
Given that future DERs for EVs will be mobile, a concept not developed in previous projects, an operational plan must include consumers in charging mode and injectors of power when batteries are giving power back to the grid.
European researchers initiated the ‘Mobile energy resources in grids of electricity’ (MERGE) project to develop EV control interfaces and a simulation suite to test them.
MERGE investigators are including two scenarios: charging stations for fleets of EVs (fast charging), and domestic or public individual charging points (slow charging).
Building on smart technology, or materials and systems capable of actively adapting to changes in relevant parameters, the MERGE team developed specifications for a user-friendly interface and smart metering technology supporting EVs and utility and power providers.
In order to evaluate DERs for EV integration, investigators compiled extensive battery data and adapted several existing software tools for power systems analysis to include EV and grid interface models. Cost issues and marketing concerns were also addressed through computational models, as were regulatory factors and business models for efficient integration of EVs.
Provision of the electric grid required for exploiting EVs and subsequent widespread adoption would decrease greenhouse gas emissions as well as traffic noise, given that electric cars are virtually silent. MERGE results have the potential to place the EU in a leading position regarding global export potential for such technology.