Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Vigil trials vehicle-to-grid intelligent control

Steve Rogerson
May 6, 2020



The collaborative research project Vigil (VehIcle to Grid Intelligent controL) has met its aim of building and trialling an off-vehicle communication and control platform that will encourage DNOs, building owners and EV and EV infrastructure owners to adopt V2G as part of future networks.
 
The UK-based consortium consists of Aston University, ByteSnap Design, Grid Edge and Nortech Management. The group has demonstrated at two sites on the Aston University campus the capability of Vigil to regulate EV charging and discharging with building energy dispatch alongside electrical network constraints.
 
Funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in partnership with Innovate UK, it is the UK’s first comprehensive communication and control platform for managing energy distribution preventing peak load problems that 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 platform operates in full control of how, when and the rate at which EVs are charged and discharged with the simultaneous consideration of multiple constraints.
 
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. The system also identifies and informs the rest of the platform of the headroom for providing flexibility and network services to DNOs and DSOs. The platform is housed within Nortech’s iHost and provides an interface to the DNO and DSO.
 
Grid Edge provided the distributed energy asset optimisation methods and controls. 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, while 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 maintain 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 integrated into the V2G units at the Aston University campus and is supporting the direct control of the V2G units via the building management system.
 
“We believe that platforms like Vigil are the future of energy management in tomorrow’s transport infrastructure based on electric vehicles,” said Dunstan Power, director of ByteSnap Design. “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.”
 
The controller, named Ray, provides interoperability and control of any EV charger via the OCPP 2.0 communications standard, and can be adapted for controlling many other V2G or smart chargers with different communication standards providing complete local control.
 
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 and published their research outcome at the IET International Conference on Renewable Power Generation in 2019.