Imagine a parking lot that was powered by solar panels, where you could leave your electric vehicle to charge during the workday. If you specify that you will be driving home at say, 4 PM, the parking lot would ensure that your car is charged fully by that deadline.
If all cars in the parking lot have strict deadlines however, it might not be possible to charge all cars fully by the time their owners return. Instead, how much would it help if you added an hour’s leeway to your charging deadline? For example, “I will return home sometime between 4 PM and 5 PM” versus “I will return at 4 PM exactly”. If someone returns closer to 4 PM there is a bigger chance their car won’t be fully charged, whereas if they return closer to 5 PM there is a greater chance the car will be charged. If people are more flexible with their charging deadline, the parking lot is able to charge all the cars to a fuller capacity.
In this paper, we optimized when to charge each car, and how much to charge each car over a day to meet flexible and strict charging deadlines. The paper can be accessed here:
O. Ardakanian, C. Rosenberg and, S. Keshav, Quantifying the Benefits of Extending Electric Vehicle Charging Deadlines with Solar Generation, Proc. IEEE Smart Grid Communications, November 2014.
Electric vehicles (EVs) pose a challenge to the electrical grid in two ways.
- First, large-scale introductions of EVs pose a significant load to the grid. An EV can be charged with a load of up to 19.2kW (with Level 2 chargers), whereas a typical North American home has an average load of 1kW – this means a single EV could impose a load as large as that imposed by nearly twenty average homes.
- Secondly, the load posed by an EV is variable by time and location: its load on a grid will unpredictably disappear when it is being driven. It might then charge at a different location, re-appearing at a different part of the electricity distribution network.
Since a typical EV charger is located within 3km of the nearest substation, the transmission delay between any charger and its connected substation is less than 1ms. As such, we can design a distributed control algorithm that adjusts the charging rate of an EV every few milliseconds, in response to the load being placed on the overall distribution system. For example, if an EV is charging at a rate that affects the reliability of the grid, its charging rate can be decreased.
Three papers were written on this subject. The first paper introduces the problem and describes how the congestion control problem for a grid distribution system is similar to the congestion control problem in the Internet.
- O. Ardakanian, C. Rosenberg, and S. Keshav. Real Time Distributed Congestion Control for Electrical Vehicle Charging (invited paper), ACM SIGMETRICS Performance Evaluation Review 40.3 (2012): 38-42.
By using a mathematical framework originally developed for rate control in the Internet (TCP), each EV charger in the grid can independently update its charging rate, while ensuring that the overall load on the grid stays at an ideal level, the allocated rates for each charger are proportionally fair, and that these allocations are optimal. The second paper in this series focuses on a static network scenario, in which the non-EV load is constant, and a fixed number of EVs are connected to chargers.
- O. Ardakanian, C. Rosenberg, and S. Keshav. Distributed Control of Electric Vehicle Charging, Proc. ACM e-Energy, May 2013. Winner of Best Paper Award.
The third paper goes into detail about the dynamic network scenario, which involves variable home loads and number of plugged-in EVs. Since the dynamic network scenario can be decomposed into a series of static intervals, the static control algorithm described above can be extended to be used in a dynamic network.
- O. Ardakanian, S. Keshav, C. Rosenberg. Real-Time Distributed Control for Smart Electric Vehicle Chargers: From a Static to a Dynamic Study, IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, vol.5, no.5, pp. 2295-2305, Sept. 2014.
We show that in a test setting, only 70 EVs could be fully charged without control, whereas up to around 700 EVs can be fully charged using our control algorithm. This work was further extended to integrate EV charging control with control of distributed storage, while accounting for distributed solar generation. Details can be found here: O. Ardakanian, S. Keshav, C. Rosenberg, “Integration of Renewable Generation and Elastic Loads into Distribution Grids,” Springer, 2016.