The Smart Grid and Electric Car Charging

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Widespread adoption of electric vehicles will reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Some are worried that the electric grid will be stressed leading to a decrease in its reliability. In related news today, Battelle and AeroVironment have a technology that will address this concern, and help EV’s charge when the grid is most able to support charging.

This technology is the subject of a commercial license agreement between Battelle and AeroVironment, Inc., of Monrovia, Calif. The technology may also ultimately result in lower costs for plug-in electric vehicle owners.

Battelle operates the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash.

AeroVironment will use a portion of the licensed technology in a new prototype version of its Level II charging systems.

While electric vehicles will ultimately reduce the nation’s dependency on oil, some are concerned that millions of electric cars on the road will threaten the stability of the electrical grid. Developed at PNNL, the Grid Friendly EV Charger Controller technology tells the car’s battery charger when to start and stop charging based upon existing conditions on the electrical grid. Since electric vehicles can now be charged when electricity is most readily available, the technology could translate into lower bills for vehicle owners and a more stable grid.

AeroVironment’s new prototype EV charging station, incorporating the PNNL technology, will help stabilize the electrical grid by continuously monitoring the grid’s alternating current, or AC, frequency and varying the vehicle charging rate in response. If an unexpected event on the grid causes a rapid drop in the AC frequency, the charging system will stop charging, providing a grid “shock absorber.” Under normal conditions, this stabilizing technology will be particularly important as the power grid is expected to rely more and more on variable renewable resources such as wind and solar technologies.

Read more at US DOE.

Article by Roger Greenway, appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.