TH Köln develops communicating charging stations for grid control
Post date: 23/05/2023 - 17:25
A technology for wallboxes developed at the Institute of Electrical Power Engineering at TH Köln, Germany, can independently analyze the status of the grid and coordinate charging times with surrounding boxes. This should prevent the grid from being overloaded if too many parallel charging processes take place in the same street. Alternatively, the grid would have to be made more efficient. If this does not happen quickly enough, the worst case scenario could be that no more wallboxes or heat pumps are allowed to be connected.
For the solution found at TH Köln, two components are added to a commercially available charging box: a measuring device that determines the status and current load of the grid in the vicinity, and a communication module that sends information to adjacent charging boxes via the power line. »In the future, if several such boxes are installed in a neighborhood, they will form a network that ›knows‹ the status of the grid up to the next transformer station. If there is a need for charging, this is coordinated between the boxes using our algorithm. For most users, it is irrelevant whether their electric car is charged at 8 p.m. or at 3 a.m.. For the grid, however, distributed charging means a lower load,« explains Professor Eberhard Waffenschmidt, who developed the technology together with Professor Ingo Stadler and research associates.
So far, the system's functionality has been designed and tested on a test stand in the TH Köln laboratories (photo). In a follow-up project, a real-life test is to be carried out in cooperation with a network operator, and functional models close to series production are to be developed for the wallbox.
The process, which has been patented by TH Köln in the USA and for which a patent application has been filed in the EU, could also be used for other consumers such as heat pumps.