Energy Storage Innovation For Electric Vehicles In Ontario

Energy storage research is aimed to support the wider use of electric vehicles.
Published: Wed 17 Dec 2014

The arrival of electric vehicles is bringing some new challenges to utilities, not least in managing their impact on the grid.

Recognizing this, two out of the three new awards for energy storage projects from Ontario’s Smart Grid Fund are aimed at managing these impacts, while the third will include EV applications among others (these in addition to the three project awards for electric vehicle integration). In all in this second round of funding, 17 projects were awarded a total of more than CA$23.7 million (US$20.8 million). Other areas covered are microgrids, behind the meter, grid automation and data analytics. [Engerati- Microgrids Get A Boost In Ontario]

Pole-mounted storage

Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Energy plans to demonstrate a pole-mounted energy storage system to facilitate EV integration and improve grid stability and reliability on Toronto Hydro’s network.

In the project, a modular storage solution from the local storage company eCamion will be combined with a smart controller, developed by Ryerson, which communicates with downstream smart meters of connected residences. The objective is to develop and demonstrate the solution to show integration of smart meters, electric vehicle chargers and improved system reliability.

The project is regarded as an important demonstration of the promise of storage at the edge of the grid. Toronto Hydro, as the local utility, should benefit by way of reduced cost on infrastructure upgrade, reduced energy costs, reduced usage during peak hours, enhanced grid reliability and increased power flexibility. In addition the project will showcase eCamion’s technology, which is going to be pursued for worldwide commercialization.

Storage for EV charging station management

Local battery storage provider Electrovaya is to install energy storage systems in London and Toronto to solve issues caused by the sudden connect/disconnect of EVs and system congestion.

The EV component of the project will be undertaken with London Hydro. At locations that have existing or planned charging station infrastructure, Electrovaya will demonstrate how its system can mitigate issues including peak management, peak charging management, infrastructure deferment, harmonics and voltage and frequency regulation.

The other part of the project will be undertaken with Toronto Hydro. The system will be installed at multiple sites to determine its effect in improving several of Toronto Hydro’s weak feeder networks and power quality/reliability at these locations.

EV technology interoperability

In the third project eCAMION will showcase the interoperability of energy storage and EV technologies among others across three demonstrations in three commercial building sizes in Sudbury, Toronto, and Ottawa.

The project will integrate the building energy management system, EV applications, advanced energy storage, solar generated energy and a distribution automation applications network to expand opportunities for customer control, enable conservation and allow for high penetrations of renewable generation. 

Each demonstration will validate core solutions while integrating different technologies due to their own operational roles. Further, the three collaborating distribution company networks will help assess the impact of storage between a grid infrastructure (age, congestion issues, etc.) and commercial customer valuation perspective.

EV integration

The three EV integration projects are as follows.

Local cleantech ICT company CrossChasm will equip 30 plug-in EVs with network-enabled data loggers to provide partner utility Toronto Hydro with better visibility of EV-related grid impacts. This will allow charging to be optimized according to grid capacity and user preferences. On completion of the project Toronto Hydro should be well positioned to implement a commercial smart charging program that includes utility control of EV charging loads.

Tech Mahindra is to demonstrate the effects of electric vehicle charging on transformers by creating a real time transformer monitoring and analytics solution. Enrolling 10-15 EV users in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this project will help utilities plan for future EV impacts on the distribution system, and through integration with an in-home display, will help consumers manage energy usage.

The University of Ottawa, working with IBM and Hydro-Ottawa, is to develop solutions that incorporate charging and discharging of EV batteries while incorporating secure payment and privacy of user data, as well as an EV charging station locator mobile app. Once the project meets its goals, the technology will be commercialized through a start-up company to be founded by the project team and the University of Ottawa.