Bringing virtual power plants
for cost-effective EV charging to cities
WINNING TEAM: HORSEPOWER
Create a Mobile Virtual Power Plant
A successful introduction of electric vehicles (EVs) allows for reduced CO2 emissions, but also challenges the power system: as the number of EVs increases, the impact of unregulated charging is more clearly observable, especially at the distribution level, where high EV concentrations cause congestion due to the correspondence between EV charging and peak residential consumption.
However, since EVs can act as mobile storage points, they could be considered not passive loads, but assets, strengthening the system by adding flexibility. Given the growing portion of the grid given over to distributed energy resources with intermittent outputs, flexible ancillary services will be increasingly important in the future.
In order to coordinate large numbers of decentralised mobile energy units, Vattenfall wanted to explore using cars as mobile virtual power plants. Vattenfall challenged the teams to use blockchain to create a transparent mechanism to receive flexibility bids as well as tracking each user’s participation.
Bringing virtual power plants for cost-effective EV charging to cities
There is not enough charging power in houses and cities for charging ever more and more electric cars. Grid operators cannot solve this issue, as the building infrastructure belongs to the landlord, which finds the investments in the in-house powerline too big.
HorsePower team (Porsche Digital Lab) created the blueprint for a cooperative allowing local communities to get the required infrastructure in place. Members participate in mobile power plants with their EV’s batteries. Intelligent software manages the charging of cars based on the availability and price of electricity.
With machine learning tools and predictive analysis, the solution forecasts the individual based consumption pattern, for the cars (the virtual power plants) to charge or release energy when needed.
A blockchain platform is used to safeguard the transactions that will be performed between participants in a community. Every community will have its own side chain to improve the performance and save transaction costs. As there is a ‘debt’ token to trace the energy consumption, there is reduced incentive for a security attack. HorsePower used several cloud services (lambda, AWS) to integrate the modules and have the possibility to scale effectively.