News – What`s happening in energy research

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Determining routes, locations and times contributes to drawing up a representative driving cycle.
© Forschungszentrum Jülich
Scientific and industrial researchers are examining potential

Integrating electric vehicles into the grid

According to the plans of the German Federal Government, Germany is to become a key market for electromobility. This is one of the reasons why the responsible ministries are increasing their activities in energy research. For example, the NET-ELAN joint project coordinated by Forschungszentrum Jülich is researching how a stock of electric vehicles can be practically integrated into existing and future energy supply structures. The initial results of the project subsidised by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology have now been made available.

More electric vehicles on the roads could reduce local pollution, reduce the dependence on imported energy and help protect the environment. Their batteries can also be used for energy storage. This is particularly important for electricity from renewable sources, as it means that their supply, which is not based on demand, can be utilised better. Also, the use of electric vehicles can contribute to optimising capacity planning for conventional power stations. The research project also examines the technical feasibility of these approaches and possible barriers. Experts from the fields of science and the industry are focusing on the following questions in particular:

  • What are the technical options and limits for the integration of e-vehicles in the power supply network?
  • What is the potential for efficient integration of fluctuating electricity sources such as wind turbines?
  • To what extent does this allow power station capacities to be reduced?
  • What effects does the use of e-vehicles have on electricity consumption?
  • What influence does this have on emissions and energy balances?
  • What form could cost and operator models take?

Intermediate report

In a first phase, scientists from TU Berlin examined existing and future conditions of the energy supply. To do so, they created a model for energy transfer in Germany, taking the influence of wind energy into account. They drew up a corresponding scenario for 2020.

A further important point of the project was to design the vehicle and battery appropriately. To do so, private and commercial vehicle use had to be examined. This was done using GPS data loggers, among other methods.

In order to estimate the charging performance, corresponding assumptions on the vehicle properties had to be made, and information on the geographic and time distribution of electrical vehicles and the typical user behaviour had to be gathered. For this purpose, user types have been determined. This data will be linked to the measurements from the driving cycle survey and geocoding.

Information on the research project

The “Grid integration of electric drive systems in existing and future energy supply structures” project is subsidised by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) as part of its energy research measures. Interested parties can visit www.net-elan.de for further information.

Other projects

A separate BMWi research project examines economic energy prospects of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles in a supply system with a significant proportion of fluctuating renewable energy. This looks at possible market developments and different strategies for meeting the additional electricity requirements primarily from renewable energy sources, among other areas. The European context is taken into consideration, both on the demand and supply side. The circumstances described refer mainly to the period from 2020 to 2050. The German Aerospace Center presents the project on its website.


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