European smart charging project INVADE
A large-scale Smart Charging trial was completed as part of the European INVADE project. INVADE is a European subsidised project from the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program that started in the beginning of 2017 and ran until the end of 2019.
The abbreviation INVADE is derived from the objective for the integration of electric vehicles and batteries in the distribution network for accessing distributed and centralized energy storage. Along with 12 other parties, GreenFlux took part in the trial to prove how smart charging can overcome the lack of supply and overflowing demand.
Increasing use of wind and sun and an enormous increase in electric charging is causing large-scale fluctuations on the energy network. The increase in sun and wind also causes greater price variations in the energy markets, an indication of the fact that it is becoming more difficult to match the supply and demand of sustainable electricity generation within the energy system.
The INVADE project demonstrated that smart charging can be used to overcome the challenges of the energy fluctuations and price variations in the market.
During the INVADE project, GreenFlux focused on two situations: households and offices. The first case had about fifty households with at least one electric car, a private charging station and preferably also solar panels. Meanwhile, the office case concerned locations from a few chargers to a location with 98 charging stations. There were eight pilot locations amounting to 199 charging points altogether.
An important prerequisite for the project was that EV riders would not be affected by smart charging and that it would be a scalable solution without modifications of the existing equipment.
It appeared that the case for offices is mainly in saving grid reinforcement. By not charging all cars simultaneously, a cost saving of a quarter of a million euros could be achieved in one case due to smart charging eliminating the need to increase building installations. The annual additional network operator costs of 80,000 euros, that would have been necessary without smart charging, were redundant as a result of running the algorithms used by GreenFlux. The same savings can be achieved in households as in offices, whereby the savings are made to the network operator.
The flexibility that electric cars can offer, especially if there are millions of them, is of great value for the energy system. The INVADE project has shown that if the solutions are scaled up to a situation in which all cars will be electric, the total flexible power that electric cars can offer will be six to nine times greater than our current total power demand per day.
What makes the GreenFlux smart charging solution unique is that only one solution is necessary to prevent aggravation, while simultaneously anticipating on the current energy markets.
Figure 1: Office situation without optimization through which the generated solar energy and load requirement are not matched.
Figure 2: Office situation with optimization through smart charging algorithms, whereby the generated energy and the energy requirements of the office and electric cars are directly aligned.
The unique thing about this project is that smart charging has been applied on a large scale from a cloud system. No local hardware has been adjusted or installed at any pilot location; everything was controlled remotely. This makes the solution built here extremely scalable. GreenFlux is prepared for a future in which millions of cars make massive use of sustainable energy when it is available, while at the same time we can limit the costs of grid reinforcement to an absolute minimum.