Washington, Apr 28 : Researchers at the Southern New Hampshire University are working on a system of grid-tied electric vehicles (Vehicle to Grid or V2G) combined with a solar photovoltaic charging system and smart computer control that they hope will replace traditional fossil fuel cars on campus and become an economic source of power.
The boffins say that the V2G cars can help balance the system load, reduce storage requirements, and reduce the need for fossil fuel baseload plants.
They are now designing a small, experimental, grid-tied parking lot that charges vehicles via an overhead photovoltaic (PV) array.
The system will monitor vehicle battery charge, solar output, and New Hampshire electric system demand.
With a real-time controller (designed, built, and tested by my associate Pentti Aalto), the researchers say that it will be possible to respond to price signals from the five-minute electric grid spot market (ISO-NE).
A rise in demand on the electric grid is reflected in spot prices for power. When the grid calls for more power, they will feed in the available surplus from the car batteries and the PV charging system, thus helping to reduce spot prices and satisfy the system's demand for power.
The parking lot PV system will feed the grid directly, or charge the vehicle batteries, reports Environmental News Network.
A V2G car with fully charged batteries (4 kilowatt hour capacity) could provide the grid 10 kW of power for 12 minutes (50 percent maximum discharge). Five million parked cars could provide 1,000 megawatts of power for an hour during peak times with a 2 kW total discharge. 1,000 MW is the size of a very large baseload coal or nuclear plant.
They also state that the parking lot solar can be easily integrated into plug-in electric charging stations, which also provides shade for cars and can thus reduce the energy needed to cool a hot car during summer.
Using their prototype real-time controller, the researchers state that they will scrape the five-minute price signal from the ISO-NE website and send it via the Internet to a satellite pager network.
The programmable controller, using an algorithm that the researchers have come up with, will efficiently and economically operate and monitor the vehicles, the PV charging system, and the grid interface.
This real-time smart grid will reduce pollution, be more stable and efficient, minimize and optimize electric use, and integrate centralized and distributed renewable power and energy storage.