Remote charging EV batteries from solar power plants

Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia created an algorithm that can theoretically turn electric boats into small renewable power plants. They tested the algorithm with a microgrid in their lab, using four 6-volt gel batteries connected in a 24-V series as a stand-in for a boat. 

  • In their experiment, they found that the algorithm could manage power flows reliably enough to allow electric boats to provide peak load support to a grid directly after a trip.  
  • To implement this approach, they’d need an electric boat with its own PV system, which would charge the boat’s batteries when the boat was adrift. Then when the boat is docked, it could act as a small power plant, providing electricity to homes on the island. With the algorithm in place, boat owners could decide when to sell electricity—and how much they wanted to sell. They might, for example, set their system to automatically sell 10 percent of its stored energy, and only if the batteries are at least halfway charged.
  • The proposed technology works pretty similarly to the microgrids that are gradually rolling out in Indonesia—those microgrids also contain PVs to collect energy and lithium-ion batteries to store it. But there’s one key difference: portability. If Indonesia were hit with a natural disaster, those microgrids could be destroyed. Even Indonesia’s widely electrified islands may be impacted. With the new approach, the Indonesian government could use the boats it sent with food and supplies to also provide power.

Aggreko is set to deploy a new mobile and modular energy storage system at Gold Fields’ Granny Smith gold mine, in Western Australia, as the temporary power, temperature control and energy services company looks to expand its 10 GW fleet of distributed energy assets.

Looking for ways to support the integration of a new 2.6-gigawatt offshore wind farm, Dominion Energy, a utility in Virginia, US, has devised a plan to use batteries within electric school buses as a grid flexibility asset.  As part of the $16m project, Dominion will provide selected local schools with 50 battery-powered buses equipped for bidirectional charging. When the vehicles are idle, the utility will store excess energy in the batteries and draw it back in peak hours.

  • The buses cost $325,000 each but are sold to schools for $100,000 – the same price as a diesel equivalent. At the end of the school day they will be returned to their depots and plugged into bidirectional V2G chargers. Once connected, via a digital distributed energy-management system, the utility will charge the batteries, which takes around three-and-a-half hours, at the optimal time. When the energy is needed a signal is sent to transfer power into the grid.
  • The bidirectional energy-management system, called APEX, is provided by Proterra, an automotive and energy-storage company based in California. It will eventually be expanded to manage all the utility’s distributed assets, including solar and wind generation.

CESC(Calcutta Energy Supply Corporation, India) and Exide in January, 2021 inaugurated grid connected 315 kWh battery energy storage systems (BESS) at low tension (LT) distribution system for better peak load management, a company official said. The storage battery project also improves voltage profile, frequency management, agility to integrate intermittent solar energy sources and ensure high quality power for consumers. This battery-based energy storage system uses latest Gel type Lead Acid Technology, propelling a higher level of efficiency and safety, Exide officials said.


See also: Climate Startup Intelligence from CLIMAFIX

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