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HVDC celebrates its silver jubilee in India

September 29, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech

HVDC Image courtesy of ABB

HVDC
Image courtesy of ABB

India’s first HVDC station was commissioned 25 years ago. Since then, the country’s power supply landscape has been transformed, with the construction of the North-East Agra UHVDC link the latest chapter in India’s transmission history.

The remote Vindhyachal region, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, was the setting for the country’s first high voltage direct current (HVDC) station 25 years ago. Designed, manufactured and commissioned by ABB in 1989, this 500 megawatt (MW) back-to-back HVDC station was conceived in the early 1980s by NTPC (then called National Thermal Power Corporation Limited), the central power generation utility in the country, to transmit locally generated thermal power to the Delhi cluster in the Northern Grid.

The successful operation of the Vindhyachal station ushered in the ‘HVDC-era’ in India. The station dramatically increased the flexibility of the Indian grid by permitting power flow between regions, and consequently optimized generation to meet load variations. The unification of the country’s asynchronous regional grids laid the foundation for grid stability and reliable power supply across India.

Lighting up 90 million lives

Today, Vindhyachal hosts three super thermal power generating stations within a radius of 40 kilometers: the 2,000 MW capacity Singrauli, the 2,500 MW Rihand, supplying power to the Northern Grid, and the 4,260 MW Vindhyachal, supplying power to the Western Grid.

The country itself has 10 HVDC links, 16 stations in operation, and three links with seven stations under execution. This includes the world’s first multi-terminal ultrahigh voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission link, the ±800 kV North-East Agra UHVDC link with 8,000 MW converter capacity to transmit clean hydroelectric power from India’s hilly northeast over a distance of 1,728 km, lighting up 90 million lives in the country’s south.

To celebrate the silver jubilee – which comes in the same year as the 60th anniversary of HVDC technology – a cultural show was given by local school students in the town of Vindhyanagar, Madhya Pradesh. The event also included a workshop on extending the life of existing systems in India. On this occasion, R P Sasmal, Director of Operations at Powergrid Corporation of India Limited, the transmission company responsible for the Vindhyachal station, commented: “Over the past 25 years, we have been working with ABB. They are an organization that has shared knowledge and expertise and helped us to master HVDC technology.”

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: ABB.

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Battery system will be able to light 2,500 homes

September 29, 2014 in Battery Energy Storage, BYD, Environment, EV News, Greentech, Large Energy Storage

By Laura Margoni, UC San Diego

Considered one of the most advanced microgrids in the world, the UC San Diego microgrid generates 92 percent of the electricity used on campus annually. Photo courtesy of UC San Diego

Considered one of the most advanced microgrids in the world, the UC San Diego microgrid generates 92 percent of the electricity used on campus annually.
Photo courtesy of UC San Diego

One of the largest, most environmentally-friendly, battery-based energy storage systems in the nation will be installed at the University of California, San Diego the campus announced today (Sept. 29).

The 2.5 megawatt (MW), 5 megawatt-hour (MWh) system — enough to power 2,500 homes — will be integrated into the university’s microgrid, which generates 92 percent of the electricity used on campus annually and is considered one of the world’s most advanced microgrids. A microgrid is a small-scale version of a traditional large power grid that controls energy from clean sources such as wind and solar power, as well as from conventional technology. It can be connected to a larger electric grid, but can also work independently.

“UC San Diego is committed to practices that promote sustainability and innovation, not just on our campus, but in our community and our world,” said Gary C. Matthews, vice chancellor for resource management and planning. “Energy storage has the potential to transform the global energy landscape. It can help make renewable energy sources more reliable and is critical to a resilient, efficient, clean and cost-effective grid. We are proud to help advance this technology.”

Energy storage systems are technologies that convert electricity into another form of stored energy and then convert the energy back to electricity at another time. Energy storage helps integrate intermittent renewable resources, such as solar power, and provides power when it is needed for consumption. The technology is considered key to enhancing grid reliability as well as grid resiliency in the face of adverse conditions.

Energy storage is considered so important that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) decided last year to establish an unprecedented energy storage target: 1.3 gigawatts (GW) of energy storage is to be procured and installed by three of the state’s investor-owned utilities by 2024. The CPUC’s mandate broke new ground by trying to establish a regulatory system in which utilities, third-party storage providers and potentially customer-owned storage assets can play an integrated role.

The 2.5 MW, 5 MWh energy storage system at UC San Diego was purchased from BYD, the world’s largest supplier of rechargeable batteries. BYD’s energy storage system uses high performance lithium-ion iron-phosphate batteries that are known for being highly reliable and environmentally-friendly. The company’s rechargeable batteries contain no heavy metals or toxic electrolytes and, during the manufacturing process, all caustic or harmful materials are avoided. The batteries are also considered non-explosive and fire-safe, even in direct flames. The company has supplied more than 100 MWh of fixed energy storage stations around the world.

“UC San Diego is renowned for their efforts in green energy production technologies and we are thrilled to partner with them,” said Stella Li, BYD senior vice president. “Together, we seek to ensure that renewable power can be utilized as a reliable generation source enabled by environmentally-friendly battery storage.”

The 2.5 MW, 5 MWh energy storage system is the latest addition to UC San Diego’s portfolio of energy storage devices—one of the most diverse energy storage portfolios of any university in the world. Other devices currently in place include the following with additional energy storage projects being planned as well:

  1. 30 kilowatt (KW) ultracapacitor-based energy storage system from Maxwell Technologies, Inc. The system will be combined with Soitec’s Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) Technology, which is already installed on campus.
  2. Second-life battery demonstration site. Although electric vehicle batteries usually only have a vehicle lifetime of eight to 10 years, they still have significant capacity left for alternative uses, such as stationary energy storage.
  3. 3.8 million gallon thermal energy storage. Waste heat from the plant also is used as a power source for a water chiller that fills a 4 million gallon storage tank at night with cold water. The water is used during the warmest time of day to cool campus buildings.

Once the 2.5 MW, 5 MWh advanced energy storage system is installed in spring 2015, UC San Diego will be eligible for up to $3.25 million in financial incentives through the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). SGIP is a California ratepayer-funded rebate program that provides incentives for the installation of clean and efficient distributed generation technologies. The program is overseen by the CPUC, and is available to retail electric and gas customers of the four California investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, South California Gas and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). The Center for Sustainable Energy is the program administrator for the SGIP for the SDG&E territory.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: UC San Diego.

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Engineers develop algorithms to switch out and recharge battery modules in electric cars

September 29, 2014 in Battery Energy Storage, Electric Vehicles, EV charging, EV News

Imagine being able to switch out the batteries in electric cars just like you switch out batteries in a photo camera or flashlight. A team of engineers at the University of California, San Diego, are trying to accomplish just that, in partnership with a local San Diego engineering company.

Rather than swapping out the whole battery, which is cumbersome and requires large, heavy equipment, engineers plan to swap out and recharge smaller units within the battery, known as modules. They named the project Modular Battery Exchange and Active Management, or M-BEAM for short (http://www.modularexchange.com).

Engineers have already purchased and converted a car, a 2002 four-door Volkswagen Golf. They also built all the modules for one of the two battery packs they plan to use and are now looking for sponsors for their project, including companies or individuals that appreciate the benefits of having small exchangeable battery modules in an electric vehicle.

“This is a game-changing technology,” said Lou Shrinkle, an electrical engineer who is one of the major sponsors of the project. “This idea may seem straightforward, but there were some tough technical challenges that we had to solve to make this system robust and practical.”

Swapping battery modules could also have far-reaching implications for mobile and decentralized electrical energy storage systems such as solar backup and portable generators. The technology can make energy storage more configurable, promote safety, simplify maintenance and eventually eliminate the use of fossil fuels for these applications, Shrinkle pointed out

Engineers not only believe that their approach is viable, but also plan to prove it. They will embark on a cross-country trip with a car powered by the removable, rechargeable M-BEAM battery modules. They plan to drive from coast to coast only taking breaks that are a few minutes long to swap out the modules that will be recharged in a chase vehicle. They believe they can drive from San Diego to the coast of South Carolina less than 60 hours—without going over the speed limit.

“This requires a completely different way of thinking on battery management,” said Raymond de Callafon, a mechanical engineering professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego. “Electric storage capacity is increased when modules are connected in parallel, but this requires a careful control of stray currents between modules.”

Algorithms for charge estimation and current control

A team led by de Callafon is designing the algorithms for charge estimation and current control, implemented in an embedded system that is part of the battery management system for each module. The algorithms will be able to handle battery modules with different charge levels, chemistry, age and condition and keep the modules working together uniformly. The team has published their findings in a recent paper titled “Current Scheduling for Parallel Buck Regulated Battery Modules” in the IFAC World Congress held in Cape Town, South Africa in August, 2014.

Xin Zhao, the graduate student that is part of the team, explains in the paper that rechargeable, removable battery modules in electric cars would solve numerous problems. Being able to simply swap and combine battery modules would eliminate range anxiety and extend the range that cars are able to travel indefinitely — the average range of most affordable electric vehicles is about 70 to 100 miles per charge. Batteries themselves take 4 to 12 hours to charge with conventional power sources. Newer, fast-charge technology still takes about 30 minutes and involves running very high power through batteries, shortening their lifetime and reducing safety.

What would change

The team says there are many advantages in their approach of recharging and swapping out smaller modules within a large battery. The approach allows for a separation between the purchase of an electric vehicle and its battery pack. The price of electric vehicles would drop by about $10,000 if removable battery modules are leased rather than built into an electric vehicle.

Also, as of today, more than 40 percent of people living in cities don’t have access to wall outlets to charge their electrical vehicles at the curb or in a garage. Exchangeable modules could be taken out of the car and recharged at home. Exchangeable modules would also allow an expanded mix of chemistries and energy densities lowering costs and improving range. Removable batteries could even be brought into the home to be charged and be part of an electricity back-up system.

Challenges and future work

But there are challenges. At 20 to 30 lbs. each, the modules are not exactly light-weight. Researchers believe that as battery technology matures, module size will shrink to about the size of a tissue box, weighing less than 10 lbs. The ability to swap battery modules from an electric vehicle allows easy adaptation of such new battery technology.

A battery system based on exchangeable modules would also need an infrastructure that allows users to lease or purchase the rechargeable modules. Businesses that either charge the modules or rent out pre-charged modules would also need to be available throughout the country. But engineers point out that electric vehicle charging stations, especially fast-charge stations, are not widely available either. Exchange stations could easily be gradually deployed. Imagine simply exchanging your modules at the local gas station that charges them for you, much like you can fill up propane tanks today.

Electric shock can also be a risk during removal and replacement of high voltage modules. The battery management system developed by the research team ensures that the output voltage of the battery is equal to zero unless the battery is in the vehicle and enabled by a key switch. Modules are configured to exhibit only safe low voltages even when fully compromised during and after a crash and have built-in solid-state switches to handle a short circuit condition.

Professor de Callafon is excited about the design and testing of the battery modules using a cross-country trip with an electric vehicle. “The cross-country trip will generate a wealth of scientific data on the performance of the battery modules we have designed.” The team hopes that the cross-country trip will change the way we think about mobile energy storage for electric transportation.

This article (9-16-14) is an EV News Report repost, credit: UC San Diego.

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EV Charging Stations Brings Sustainable Solutions On Campus

September 29, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV charging, EV News

By Angeline Bernabe, CSULA University Times

EV Charging Station Photo courtesy of Angeline Bernabe

EV Charging Station
Photo courtesy of Angeline Bernabe

New Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations are now available on campus!  With initially only two ports available on campus, there are now fifteen ports available that drivers have the option of using, which are located at different areas on campus.

The project to bring EV Charging Stations began in 2010, and after recently receiving a grant from the Department of Energy to fund more stations on campus, Engineering Professor, Dr. David Blekhman, and Director of Parking and Transportation Services, Carmen Gachupin, collaborated to make the vision of more charging stations on campus a reality.

Following the push for sustainability on campus, the EV charging stations have been expected to influence the way students see their future by exposing new eco-friendly technologies.  Dr. Blehman recognized the fact that not many students have Electric Vehicles and uses the EV stations as a teaching tool in his classes. He said, “Staff and Faculty who have these vehicles are pioneers because they adopt this technology for people in the future to use.”

Staff member, Sarab Singh, uses the EV stations on campus frequently for his Toyota Prius also explained, “Students get the opportunity to learn about this technology.  So if they don’t have an Electric Vehicle, they’ll at least be exposed to it.”

In addition to exposing students to this new type of technology, they also hope that these stations will help students understand the benefits of Electric Vehicles in the future.  Singh mentioned, “There are federal and state rebates for students to explore on all these new technologies including electric and hydrogen.”

By using the app called, ChargePoint, one can locate an EV charging station on campus and charge their vehicle for a couple hours at no cost.  The system, which is cohesive with other EV stations at other locations, will operate the same way by using a ChargePoint card to unlock the station.  Gachupin explained, “We wanted to stay with ChargePoint so that the users will just have one app and will be able to see all the stations.”

Another incentive for EV drivers along with these CSULA ChargePoint Stations being free of charge is that they have the option of parking their vehicle at a station all day to fully charge.  CSULA EV Charging Stations are not limited to faculty and students to use, but are open for the public to use.

Since these new stations have just been recently installed, those who have used them over the summer have had nothing but positive remarks to say compared to the old charging stations first present on campus.

Singh mentioned, “Before two weeks ago, we only had four charging stations, and sometimes, I would have to wait, and it would take me until the end of the day before I could park my car and charge it.  Since we have enough now, I don’t have to run around for a vacant spot.”

CSULA Tech Consultant, Glenn Rehl, is a fan and dedicated user of Electric Vehicles, says that the charging stations have been very convenient and affordable for him. Rehl said, “The mileage doesn’t affect me too much, so I can charge on campus for free, get home, and it doesn’t affect me in terms of needing to get gas or anything.” Rehl explained that power is instantaneous with an electric car, and has learned to be a conscientious driver over the years of driving electric vehicles.

With these new pieces of technology on campus, it has sparked inspiration to keep moving forward toward eco-friendly solutions and ideas on campus.  After much discussion of ways to improve the EV charging stations, solar canopies and DC Fast Charging Stations were other possible ideas.  On a positive note, Dr. Blekhman mentioned, “In the nation, Electric Vehicle Charging Stations are something that is developing… This is the most progressive campus in the state, and we’re already halfway there.”

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: Angeline Bernabe, CSULA University Times.

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How solar energy could be the largest source of electricity by mid-century

September 29, 2014 in Environment, EV News, IEA, Politics, Solar

To achieve that vision, IEA reports call for clear, credible consistent signals from policy makers

Installing a concentrating solar power system in Gila Bend, Arizona. The curved mirrors are tilted toward the sun, focusing sunlight on tubes that run the length of the mirrors. The reflected sunlight heats a fluid flowing through the tubes. The hot fluid then is used to boil water in a conventional steam-turbine generator to produce electricity. | Photo credit: Dennis Schroeder (NREL)

Installing a concentrating solar power system in Gila Bend, Arizona. The curved mirrors are tilted toward the sun, focusing sunlight on tubes that run the length of the mirrors. The reflected sunlight heats a fluid flowing through the tubes. The hot fluid then is used to boil water in a conventional steam-turbine generator to produce electricity. Photo credit: Dennis Schroeder (NREL)

The sun could be the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050, ahead of fossil fuels, wind, hydro and nuclear, according to a pair of reports issued today by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The two IEA technology roadmaps show how solar photovoltaic (PV) systems could generate up to 16% of the world’s electricity by 2050 while solar thermal electricity (STE) from concentrating solar power (CSP) plants could provide an additional 11%. Combined, these solar technologies could prevent the emission of more than 6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2050 – that is more than all current energy-related CO2 emissions from the United States or almost all of the direct emissions from the transport sector worldwide today.

“The rapid cost decrease of photovoltaic modules and systems in the last few years has opened new perspectives for using solar energy as a major source of electricity in the coming years and decades,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “However, both technologies are very capital intensive: almost all expenditures are made upfront. Lowering the cost of capital is thus of primary importance for achieving the vision in these roadmaps.”

The Executive Director also stressed that the two reports do not represent a forecast. As with other IEA technology roadmaps, they detail the expected technology improvement targets and the policy actions required to achieve that vision by 2050, highlighting priority actions and milestones for governments, research and industry stakeholders.

A central message in both publications deals with the need for clear, credible and consistent signals from policy makers, which can lower deployment risks to investors and inspire confidence. “By contrast,” Ms. Van der Hoeven said, “where there is a record of policy incoherence, confusing signals or stop-and-go policy cycles, investors end up paying more for their investment, consumers pays more for their energy, and some projects that are needed simply will not go ahead.”

The two documents underline the complementary role of the two technologies. With 137 GW of capacity installed worldwide at the end of 2013 and adding up to 100 MW each day, PV deployment so far has been much faster than that of STE, mainly thanks to massive cost reductions. Under the scenario described in the roadmaps, most of the growth of solar electricity comes from PV until 2030. However, the picture changes afterwards. When reaching shares between 5% and 15% of annual electricity generation, PV starts to lose value in wholesale markets. Massive-scale STE deployment takes off at this stage thanks to CSP plants’ built-in thermal storage, which allows for generation of electricity when demand peaks in late afternoon and in the evening, thus complementing PV generation.

PV expands globally, with China being by far the leading country, followed by the United States. Over half of total capacity is situated at the final consumers’ place – whether households, shopping malls or industries. STE expands in very sunny areas with clear skies, becoming a major opportunity for Africa, India, the Middle East and the United States.

Both roadmaps provide a vision for deployment based on updated modelling results consistent with the IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives 2014 and its “high-renewables” climate-friendly scenario. Each publication also offers a set of key actions for policy makers for the next five years. For both solar PV and STE, these key actions include: setting or updating long-term targets for deployment; developing streamlined procedures for providing permits and connection; and implementing remuneration schemes that reflect the true value for power systems.

  1. To download Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy, please click here.
  2. To download Technology Roadmap: Solar Thermal Electricity, please click here.
  3. To download Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven’s speech at the launch of the reports, please click here.
  4. To download the presentation at the launch of the reports, please click here.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: IEA.