Government-backed project assessed grid impacts of bi-directional EV charging at two sites at Aston University
Researchers running a government-backed electric vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial in Birmingham have hailed the success of the project in demonstrating the potential benefits of bi-direction electric car charging technology for building owners, power grid operators, and EV infrastructure firms.
The Vehicle to Grid Intelligent Control (VIGIL) collaborative research project yesterday said it had successfully met its aim of building and trialling an off-vehicle communication and control platform designed to encourage more network operators and building owners to adopt V2G technology.
V2G remains a nascent technology at present, but is seen as key for managing demand on the electricity grid amid an expected surge in electric vehicle charging and other green electrified technologies such as home heat pumps in the coming years.
It allows compatible EVs to both draw electricity from the grid to power up their batteries, and to send that energy back once again to the grid if needed, enabling the electric car's battery to essentially operate as grid balancing storage device.
The VIGIL project, run by a consortium including Aston University, ByteSnap Design, Grid Edge and Nortech Management, aimed to demonstrate the capability of regulating bi-directional EV charging with building energy dispatch technology alongside electrical network constraints.
Funded by the government's Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) alongside Innovate UK, VIGIL said the trial marked the UK's first "comprehensive communication and control platform for managing energy distribution preventing peak load problems which can risk overloading the energy distribution network".
During the project, bi-directional power flows between EVs, buildings, and electric networks were monitored and controlled in real time, enabling VIGIL to develop a platform to fully control how, when and the rate at which EVs are charged or discharged while taking into consideration shifting grid constraints, the consortium explained. Aston University also studied battery lifetime performance and degradation during the project.
"We believe that platforms like VIGIL are the future of energy management in tomorrow's transport infrastructure based on electric vehicles," said Dunstan Power, director of software firm ByteSnap Design. "We already have our first commercial customers for the smart charger control platform we developed and see lots of potential to increase the capabilities of the VIGIL platform with our consortium partners."
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