Army Tests Electric Vehicles as Storage Devices for Emergency Power

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is a member of a team that was recently awarded a $7 million contract from the US Army Corps of Engineers to demonstrate integration of electric vehicles, generators and solar arrays to supply emergency power for Fort Carson, Colo. The goal for the SwRI portion of this 18-month effort is to demonstrate the ability of electric vehicles to serve as energy storage devices in support of a microgrid and provide grid ancillary services, such as peak shaving and demand response, during non-microgrid operation.

The team, led by Burns and McDonnell Engineering, will build a microgrid out of existing electrical infrastructure at the Army post, integrating a 2-MW PV array, diesel generator sets and electric vehicles.

Unique challenges of this project include using electric vehicles to absorb excess generated power from the base’s PV array and reduce the base’s energy bill by integrating vehicle energy storage into the energy management strategy, all the while continuing to serve as an active part of the base vehicle fleet.

Project objectives for SwRI involve developing specialized software to aggregate and manage a fleet of electric vehicles as energy storage devices, as well as helping to develop interfaces between the vehicles and their charging equipment based on the newly emerging SAE J1772 DC Combo Connector II fast-charging technology standard.

SwRI is an independent, nonprofit, applied research and development organization based in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 3,000 employees and an annual research volume of more than $581 million.

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