VIGIL: UK’s First Comprehensive Communication and Control Platform
for V2G Systems and Electrical Networks Management
The collaborative research project VIGIL (‘VehIcle to Grid Intelligent controL’) has successfully met its aim of building and trialling an off-vehicle communication and control platform. Further, this platform will encourage DNOs, building owners and EV/EV infrastructure owners to adopt V2G (vehicle-to-grid) as part of future network solutions.
The VIGIL consortium consists of Aston University, ByteSnap Design, Grid Edge and Nortech Management. The group has successfully demonstrated at two sites on Aston University campus the capability of VIGIL to regulate EV charging/discharging with building energy dispatch alongside electrical network constraints.
Funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in partnership with Innovate UK, the VIGIL platform is UK’s first comprehensive communication and control platform for managing energy distribution preventing peak load problems which can risk overloading the energy distribution network.
During the project, bidirectional power flows between EVs, buildings and electric networks were monitored and controlled in real-time. Now, the VIGIL platform operates in full control of how, when and the rate at which EVs are charged/discharged with the simultaneous consideration of multiple constraints.
Amongst main project outcomes:
• Nortech developed the V2G ANM controller that monitors the voltage level and available capacity at local substations to ensure the network operates within regulated limits. Also, the system identifies and informs the rest of the VIGIL platform of the headroom for providing flexibility / network services to DNO/DSO. The VIGIL platform is housed within Nortech’s iHost and provides an interface to the DNO/DSO.
• Grid Edge provided the distributed energy asset optimisation methods and controls for VIGIL. Indeed, the system developed allowed all assets to contribute to the overall site demand profile; each asset adjusting such that its individual service conditions are met, whilst also ensuring the overall transformer limits are also met. In terms of future applications, this will allow Grid Edge customers to install more equipment onto their sites without triggering a costly transformer upgrade, and maintains the service from the site. In the longer run, it will allow consumers to continue to electrify their heating and mobility systems without adding extra costs to energy bills.
• ByteSnap Design completed the development of a smart charge point communications controller. This has been successfully integrated into the V2G units at the Aston University campus. Additionally, it is supporting the direct control of the V2G units via the building management system. The controller, named RAY, provides interoperability and control of any EV charger via OCPP 2.0 communications standard, and can be adapted for controlling many other V2G or smart chargers with different communication standard providing complete local control.
Besides the live demonstration of VIGIL, the consortium has achieved the following key successes:
• Aston University researched EV battery lifetime performance and evaluated harmonics data during V2G operation. Using real-world data from the monitoring systems, the team investigated V2G impacts on battery degradation. Further, they published their research outcome at IET International Conference on Renewable Power Generation 2019. The paper was awarded “Conference Best Paper” by the conference committee.
Dunstan Power, Director of ByteSnap Design, said: “We believe that platforms like VIGIL are the future of energy management in tomorrow’s transport infrastructure based on electric vehicles. We already have our first commercial customers for the smart charger control platform we developed and see lots of potential to increase the capabilities of the VIGIL platform with our consortium partners.”
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