A consortium of British companies has secured £1.3m in UK government funding to explore how electricity stored in electric vehicle (EV) batteries can be used to smooth out peaks in supply and demand on the country’s electricity grid.
3ti, a designer, installer, funder and operator of solar car parks, is leading the new V2X FastHub project, which is funded by the UK Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and being delivered by Innovate UK.
The 17-month-long project sets out to integrate bi-directional DC charging and the associated power management systems into Papilio3, a pop-up solar car park and EV charging hub.
According to the consortium, V2X FastHub could help resolve an issue of intermittent supply from renewables by using EV batteries as grid assets.
Other members of the consortium include EV power solutions provider Turbo Power Systems (TPS), smart energy company GridBeyond, and EV and decarbonisation business Cenex, who will work to deliver the solution, including a six-month real-world demonstration.
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3ti will deliver a customised Papilio3 with smart grid controls and a 28 kWh DC battery.
TPS will utilise its DC microgrid systems, managing the bi-directional charging technology through both CCS and CHAdeMO EV chargepoints, while GridBeyond will oversee energy management and aggregation services through its energy management system (EMS).
Cenex will host the vehicle trial, which will include the procurement of the trial vehicle fleet, data capture, analysis and final report to Innovate UK.
Specially adapted as a V2X FastHub unit for the project, 3ti’s Papilio3 smart grid can host up to 12 EVs at a time, housed within an upcycled shipping container.
The system, which features a solar canopy and energy-storage battery, has reportedly already been used in a range of applications for factories, hospitals, leisure centres and council buildings across the UK.
However, for this particular application, Papilio3 will implement a new DC microgrid system – integrating three times faster, bi-directional DC EV chargepoints with a 280kWh integral battery-storage system and 20kWp solar roof array.
The unit uses a ‘charge-as-a-service’ business rental model to simplify installation and reduce up-front costs for organisations such as medium dwell-time workplaces, destinations, return-to-base fleets and delivery depots.
Mark Potter, CTO at 3ti, said: “Everybody wants more EVs on the grid. They represent a massive scale, distributed energy resource that can be used to balance real-time supply and demand.
“This project will prove that bi-directional EV charging can work in the real world.
“Connected EVs will be teamed together to act as virtual power and energy storage facilities, with each car releasing and replenishing its stored energy according to user preferences and grid demand.
“This generates income and cost savings, which can be passed on to our customers.”
The project will reportedly be the first in the world to trial a 12-chargepoint DC smart microgrid for CCS V2X based on ISO15118-20, published in April 2022.
Each chargepoint will also support CHAdeMO for compatibility with existing vehicles, providing bi-directional EV charging at speeds up to ±30kW.
“Being able to recharge at 30kW is critical to success in this market,” continued Potter. “In destination charging, most EVs will only charge at 7 or 11kW using AC, even if the charge point is rated at 22kW.
“Being able to charge at 30kW regardless of vehicle limitations makes more energy available for V2X export without impacting the overall net charge.
“With DC microgrid V2X, meaningful energy and power levels can make it worthwhile to the asset owners, also offering up to 95% round-trip efficiency – compared to typically 60-70% in the AC domain.
“The key to unlocking V2X value is having lower OpEx and CapEx, and this project will deliver both.”
Achievements and innovations in EV charging will be celebrated at the third annual CiTTi Awards, which will be held on 26 November 2024 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London. Nominations officially open in March 2024. Please visit www.cittiawards.co.uk to learn more about this unmissable event for the UK’s transportation sector.