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The Power Grid and Electric Vehicles – Researchers Look at Possible Development

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electric_cars_-_geographorguk_-_517005Researchers at the University of Notre Dame are looking into the possible development of the country’s power grid, with the inception of more and more plug-in vehicles in recent times.

The research which is being funded by the Cyber-Physical Systems Program of the National Science Foundation is to try to develop mathematical algorithms that would improve the incorporation of plug-in hybrid vehicles (PEVs) in the power grid.

Of particular interest in this research would be solutions to optimization problems for the various stakeholders from distribution and retail levels of the PEV system such as distribution and aggregation companies, charging station owners down to PEV owners themselves.

The team of researchers includes Patrick Murphy of Initiative for Global Development, as well as the Electrical Engineering Department’s Peter Bauer, Yih-Fang Huang and Vijay Gupta. They see the electric transport system as beneficial for all, from the consumers, transport and electric companies through to the environment, though they admit that hardware and software difficulties must be overcome for such a system to work at an optimal level.

Issues to be tackled include scenarios involving the use of PEVs only for power consumption, or the use of PEVs as a kind of power source or battery as in supplying energy to the home (V2H) or supplying energy to the grid (V2G), and also issues relating to residential or commercial charging stations.

Emphasizing this, Gupta stated, “Electrification of the transportation market offers revenue growth for utility companies and automobile manufacturers, lower operational costs for consumers, and benefits to the environment… By addressing problems that will arise as PEVs impose extra load on the grid, and by solving challenges that currently impede the use of PEVs as distributed storage resources, this research will directly impact society.”

The researchers from Notre Dame, with their colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Washington, will also be working closely with partners in the industry to ensure that solutions are to real world problems and that these will be circulated to the market as soon as possible.

The research also aims at improving training of students, both undergraduates and graduates, to partake in a market for electrified transport by ensuring that the research is also incorporated at the classroom level.

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