Vehicle2Grid was a fantastic industry project experience from mid-late 2019. The project began as a pitch to Eaton Corporation to create a permanent demo installation at their Power Systems Experience Center (PSEC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. the concept was to use Eaton equipment to create a bidirectional charging loop that allowed them to both charge their Chevy Volt from the building, and charge their building from the Chevy Volt as well without affecting the driving capabilities of the car.
It’d be hard to condense this into a short portfolio piece, so this will be pretty long. I’ll still edit for brevity to avoid bringing up every thought, plan, and dead end we hit, but if you’re looking to get the 1 minute version, here’s a poster version I made just for you. Probably the largest challenge in this project was the lack of available documentation. Aside from the odd YouTube video and connector pinout, the Chevy was essentially a black box. Troubleshooting problems often required hours of research to form a hypothesis and attempt a solution. Still, aside from a few blown fuses and sometimes something bigger, the project was a big success.
I’d like to thank Eaton for providing the opportunity and the whole crew at PSEC, especially Dan Carnovale, Eric Hurd, and Amit Gholam, for their unwavering support and technical advising throughout the process. None of this would have been possible without them! Team member contributions are at the end.
The national power grid is suffering from increasing instability due to 1. increased integration of unsteady renewable power generation like solar and wind, and 2. highly variable energy demand throughout the day. Additionally, smarter systems and distributed energy resources continue to add complexity in power systems. Due to its massive scale and inertia, primary generation can have trouble compensating for varying loads. Helping balance power demand and supply has been an core issue in the power industry, as an unstable grid can result in dirty power output and increased risk of black outs and shutdowns.
One of the main solutions to grid stability has been found in battery storage. battery systems charge can when energy demand is low and then return energy back when demand rises, therefore leveling demand. For the same sustainability objectives as renewables, there has been a growth in both hybrid EVs and pure EVs. As of 2016, there were around 2 million electric vehicles on the roads, and that number continues to rise. These EVs can serve as battery storage when they are not in use, which is often as at given time 95% of cars are parked.
If an interface could be made to between EV battery and grid, the batteries could be tapped to act as peripheral generators and help stabilize demand fluctuations. Therefore, EVs have the potential to fill the gap between the need for energy storage and renewable energy integration. This emerging concept, known as Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), has limited realization and no regular implementation in the U.S. V2G refers to load balancing through bidirectional power flow – that the grid can charge the EV, and the EV can also charge the grid. The use of HEVs/EVs and V2G-based energy redistribution could significantly aid the goal of achieving a horizontal demand load throughout the day, ultimately increasing grid reliability.
While the concept of bidirectional charging has been around for a while, there have been very few realizations, and none between an electric vehicle and a microgrid. In the 2018, the University of California, San Diego, has been implementing and observing the effects of a V2G fleet used solely on campus properties in order to help reach a carbon neutral footprint. In Japan, Toyota Tsusho has heavily invested in an upcoming V2G based company, Nuvve, in hopes of promoting virtual generation sources. This is the same company that launched the pilot program at UCSD mentioned before. Additionally, Nissan has implemented their EV batteries in disaster relief scenarios as back-up battery walls. However no work has been done towards consumer side load-balancing, the goal of this project.
Before beginning the base requirements from the project were defined. While there was a lot of flexibility due to uncertain nature of the project, the proposed timeline spanned 15 weeks to accomplish the following 5 major tasks:
- Reverse engineer the Volt’s communications system and hardware
- Retrofit the microgrid and the Volt with custom adaptors to enable cross-compatibility
- Design a high voltage control system to safely allow bidirectional current flow between the car and microgrid
- Set up a local network to process data for control and a programmable user interface, including a full emulator routine.
- Preserve all driving capabilities of the car.
Major hurdles included mapping out the car’s system safeties so that they could be bypassed and learning to manually override several car functions. Design iterations included changes in communication protocols, adding safety redundancies, and reconfiguring the schematic for compatibility and efficient design. The touch screen interface also underwent several graphical interfaces for more intuitive design, while still offering all salient power flow information.
Premium power protection
With the 9355 UPS, data center managers can safely eliminate the effects of electrical line disturbances and guard the integrity of their systems and equipment. The 9355 is a true double-conversion, three-phase system that can be used to prevent loss of valuable electronic information and minimize equipment downtime.
- The 9355 continually monitors incoming electrical power and removes the surges, spikes, sags, and other irregularities that are inherent in commercial utility power
- Working with a building’s electrical system, the 9355 supplies the clean, consistent power required by sensitive electronic equipment for reliable operation
- During brownouts, blackouts, and other power interruptions, internal batteries provide emergency power to safeguard operation
Self-diagnosis The 9355 constantly monitors its own operation —such as voltage, temperature and function of internal components—and sends an alarm or takes action if it detects a potential problem.
Self-correction If it senses a problem, the 9355 instantly transfers the power path to a bypass source with zero interruption in power. When the alarm condition passes, the 9355 automatically reverts from bypass to normal power. The 9355 UPS features a four-button graphical LCD that provides useful information such as load status, events, measurements and settings.
Advanced battery management
The 9355 UPS offers innovative technologies to maximize the health and service life of its internal and external batteries:
- ABM technology uses a unique three-stage charging technique that significantly extends battery service life and optimizes recharge time when compared to traditional trickle charging
- Temperature-compensated charging monitors battery temperature and adjusts the charge rate accordingly, which properly charges the battery and greatly extends battery life
- An integrated battery management system tests and monitors battery health and remaining lifetime, providing user notification to guide preventive maintenance
Eaton’s UPS batteries are field replaceable. One person, working alone, can easily replace a battery without disrupting data center operations or power to protected equipment.
Green power performance
The 9355 delivers a robust combination of low input current distortion and high power factor for maximum efficiency. Operating at greater than 90 percent efficiency across all load ranges, the 9355 helps to reduce utility costs, extend battery runtimes and produce cooler operating conditions. In addition, Eaton‘s use of sustainable materials and highly efficient manufacturing technology results in dramatic savings in carbon footprint as compared to competitive UPS products.
Maximum runtime, minimum footprint
The 9355 UPS provides industry-leading power density and a 75 percent footprint reduction versus comparable UPS solutions. All standard 9355 configurations incorporate internal batteries to provide up to 350 percent more runtime and offer 13 percent more capacity at equivalent VA ratings. Extended runtime allows the 9355 to power this extra capacity nearly four times longer without additional hardware, eliminating the need for costly and space-consuming external battery cabinets. Standard 10 kVA and 20 kVA capacity models can also be upgraded to 15 kVA and 30 kVA, respectively, providing 50 percent more power with no additional hardware and no increase in footprint.
Flexible, integrated power distribution
An on-board power distribution module (PDM) gives the 9355 the flexibility necessary to adapt to the diverse and continually changing data center environment. This integrated PDM allows data center managers to preserve valuable rack space and reduce heat by feeding nine to 100 kW of rack servers from one 9355 UPS.
The PDM can be configured to feature a user-selectable mix of NEMA and IEC output receptacles, helping to reduce site preparation and installation costs. These high-density, high-amperage receptacles support blade servers, network switches and other power-hungry IT equipment.
The PDM’s circuits are clearly labeled to simplify load balancing while branch circuit breakers provide branch circuit protection and on/off operation for groups of receptacles. Other features include a maintenance bypass switch that allows the data center manager to service the 9355 without shutting down the connected loads to increase availability, reduce mean time to repair and maintenance costs, and lower total cost of ownership.
Simplified rack-based power distribution options
The 9355’s on-board power distribution module is compatible with Eaton‘s optional rack power modules (RPM) and enclosure power distribution units, providing maximum flexibility in distributing power throughout the facility or data center. The RPM and ePDU enable primary power distribution from the 9355 to secondary power distribution devices or directly to IT equipment, for organized power distribution with fewer cables to manage and fewer distribution points to monitor.
Both solutions deliver power to loads of various voltages and can be configured to include user-selectable combinations of NEMA, IEC and hardwired inputs, and NEMA and IEC output receptacles.
ePDUs are available in space-saving 0U-vertical and 1U-horizontal configurations making the ePDU ideal for high-density rack environments.
ePDUs allow users to meter, monitor, switch, sequence and manage branches or individual outlets.
Eaton Corporation plc
-The Company is a diversified power management company which provides solutions to manage power. The Company’s solutions will assist in the global energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, as it increases FOCUS on electrification, invests in electric vehicles and utilizes digital technologies for power management.
-The Company is organized into the following five business segments:
- Electrical Americas
- Electrical Global
-The Company is the market leader for commercial truck transmissions and clutches in North and South America. It is also an industry leader in valve and valve actuation.
-In January 2022, the Company completed the acquisition of Royal Power Solutions, a U.S.-based manufacturer of high-precision electrical connectivity components used in EV, energy management, industrial and mobility markets. Royal Power Solutions has approximately 450 employees and manufacturing facilities in Carol Stream, Illinois, and Queretaro, Mexico, along with a sales and engineering office in Canton, Michigan. The new operations will be reported within the Company’s eMobility business segment.
-In August 2021, the Company completed the sale of the Hydraulics business segment to Danfoss A/S, a Danish industrial company.
-In March 2021, the Company acquired Green Motion SA, a designer and manufacturer of electric vehicle charging hardware and software. The new operations will be reported within the Company’s Electrical Global business segment.
Automotive components.Twin Vortices Series (TVS) superchargers-Light-duty manual transmissions-Cylinder deactivation systems-Switching Roller Finger Follower (SRFF) hydraulic and electromechanical variable valve actuation (VVA) system-Differentials and traction control systems-Advanced Machining Technology: AMETEC-Gears-Active suspension systems-Air conditioning lines-Power steering lines-Plastic molded components-Molded exterior components-Fuel emissions controls
- Fuel vapor valves
- Hybrid system valves
- SCR controls
- eVaptive electronic fuel tank venting system
- Pulse dampers
- Vent valves
- Purge nipples
- SCR valves
- Fuel Tank Isolation Valve (FTIV)
- Inlet Check Valve
- Roll-Over Valve
- Active drain liquid traps
- Compact combo valves
- Fill limit vent valves
- Fuel vapor combo valves
-Engine valves, lifters and valve actuation components
- Engine valves
- Hydraulic lash adjusters
- Deactivating hydraulic lash adjusters
- Rocker arms
- Switching roller finger followers
- Control valves
- Manifold assemblies
- Transmission valves
- Transmission solenoids
Commercial vehicle components.Manual and automated transmissions-Synchronized transmissions-Variable valve actuation solutions for diesel engines-Engine brakes-Dedicated rockers-Integrated rockers-Clutches for manual or automated transmissions-Diaphragm springs-Integrated powertrains-Air conditioning lines-Power steering lines-Hydraulic hoses and hose fittings-Lubricants-Hybrid power systems-48V TVS exhaust gas recirculation pumps-Forgings-Diagnostic tools-Plastic molded products-Engine valves, lifters, and valve actuation components-Hydraulic lash adjusters-Rocker arms-EV transmissions-Diesel engine EGR pumps-Late intake valve closing systems-Cylinder deactivation systems-Cold start thermal unit air sources-Locking differentials-Open differentials-Limited slip differentials
eMobility.Fuses-Breaktor circuit protection systems-Battery disconnect switches-Circuit breakers-Fuse holders-Fuse panels-Power distribution units-Supercapacitors-48V DC/DC converter-High-voltage DC/DC converter-High-voltage inverter-Integrated power electronics-Low-voltage inverter-On-board charger-Programmable controllers-Machine dynamics sensors-VFX displays-Battery equalizers-2-speed EV transmissions-4-speed EV transmissions-48V regenerative accessory drives-6-speed EV transmissions-Heavy duty EV transmissions-TVS fuel cell compressors-48V Inverter-EV drive module gearing-IntelliTrac electronic limited slip differential-MLocker mechanical locking differential-Open Differential-High-voltage DC/DC converter.High-voltage traction inverter-Integrated OBC DC/DC-Amplifier cards.48V e-heater power electronics controller for commercial vehicle-XLR Supercapacitor module for commercial vehicle-FLEX power distribution unit (PDU) for commercial vehicle-AC chargers-DC chargers-EV charging software
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Note: A figure in brackets ( ) indicates a loss
Imagine If Your Electric Bus Could Go Forever…
The power management and automotive company Eaton has just introduced its new HyperCharger, which can fast-charged electric vehicles (EVs) up to one megawatt (MW), demonstrating once again that electric vehicle technology is marching forward. The HyperCharger is designed specifically to enable on-route charging for electric buses, which means that routes no longer need to be tethered to centralized fueling stations and there is no need to travel off-route for fuel.
In contrast to liquid fuel stations, which need regular deliveries of fuel by truck, charging stations require no such attention once they are installed. Since the Eaton HyperCharger is taking aim at the “world’s largest fleets of electric buses,” the cumulative savings add up.
The Eaton On-Route HyperCharger
Eaton already has an EV fast charging system on the market called the DC Quick Charger, which has a 50kW (kilowatt) output through five 10kW power drawers. It provides an 80 percent charge in about half an hour.
That’s pretty good for most consumer EVs but obviously not so great for on-route electric bus charging, unless you time it with a rest stop. The new HyperCharger easily beats that with an output scalable from 200 kW to one mW (megawatt). The company’s press materials don’t list a charging time but on a demonstration basis, an average of eight on-route passes along the HyperChargers provided all of the electricity needed for the average 240-mile-per-day trip.
The Wireless Bus Route Of The Future
Also no word in the press materials on the potential for wireless charging (cagey, those Eaton folks!), but as an off-board system the HyperCharger concept is not too far removed from that, so let’s take a look at the future of EV charging. We’re already seeing wireless EV charging from companies like Evatran,Hevo Power, and Qualcomm (which recently hooked up with Britain’s Drayson Racing, no less), and just last year the US Department of Energy announced 4 million in funding for next-generation wireless systems. Most of this activity is focused on consumer vehicles but on-route wireless electric bus charging is also steadily advancing. One of the projects we’re following is the wireless electric bus system developed by Utah State University. When it was unveiled in November 2012 the “Aggie Bus,” as they call it, was the first and only bus of its kind developed exclusively by a North American research institute, and according to Utah State it was also the first of its kind in the world to achieve key performance standards for a wirelessly charged vehicle. The pad-based wireless system involves no moving parts, which saves wear and tear on the equipment as well as sparing drivers from any potential safety hazards of having to get off the bus to plug in. The Utah Transit Authority has also committed itself to launching a full scale demonstration-scale test of the system, using a 40-foot transit bus on a public route that runs through the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Not for nothing, but pretty soon you won’t even have to park over a pad to charge up. The Energy Department is already eyeballing funds for developing charging-on-the-go systems embedded in roadways.
This is a good opportunity to catch up on some of the other Eaton innovations we’ve been following, so here goes. In 2010, Eaton teamed up with Peterbilt to launch a new hybrid garbage truck that cut fuel consumption by 30 percent, using Eaton’s new Hydraulic Launch Assist technology. The system, designed for large vehicles that make frequent stops, stores the waste kinetic energy from braking in the form of pressurized hydraulic fluid. When the vehicle accelerates, the stored energy gives it an extra push. Aside from the potential for saving thousands of dollars annually on fuel, the system also saves a considerable amount of wear and tear on the vehicle. Last year, Eaton announced that it was partnering in a project funded by the Energy Department’s cutting edge ARPA-E division, with the goal of reducing the size of its battery for hybrid systems by 50 percent and increasing the charge rate (in other words, decreasing the charge time), while improving the overall performance of the vehicle.
Since we’ve been invited to pay a visit to the Ford Motor Company later this week, let’s also note for the record that Eaton is a partner in Ford’s ambitious MyEnergi Lifestyle EV package, a solar-enabled system is designed to integrate electric vehicles into household energy use just like any other large household appliance (except for the speeding tickets). Now consider that Ford in turn recently partnered with the major home builder KB Home for its new ZeroHouse net zero model home for the mass market, and you can see how far and how fast the electric vehicle movement is going. Follow me on and Google. Psst, wanna keep up with all the latest EV news from CleanTechnica? Subscribe to our Electric Vehicles newsletter.
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