The flexibility of electrical systems is fundamental in the process of energy transition towards more sustainable energy generation models. The European Commission promotes the development of solutions that respond to the challenges of managing electricity distribution networks in the future energy system based on renewable sources. An increasingly large proportion of fluctuating electricity generators, such as wind and solar systems, makes it difficult to calculate the loads that are being supplied.
The increasing demand of energy due to the increase in use of electric vehicles is an additional difficulty. The electric vehicle plays a key role in all households, not only in terms of charging vehicles but also in the fact that they can store energy when there is a surplus, to use it when there is a lack. This energy storage is also key in terms of the electricity market and even sustainability. For all these reasons, to achieve a safe, resilient energy supply, production and demand must be streamlined based on distributed generation systems for the flexible production, storage and consumption of energy.
In this context, the FEVER (Flexible Energy Production, Demand and Storage-based Virtual Power Plants for Electricity Markets and Resilient DSO Operation) project was established. Its aim is to demonstrate and implement new, flexible solutions in the generation, consumption and storage of electrical energy to achieve optimal operation in the distribution network.
As part of the FEVER project, the Centre for Technological Innovation in Static Converters and Drives (CITCEA) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC) is developing two-way chargers for electric vehicles and solutions for the optimal management of electricity networks and electricity markets based on renewable sources, taking advantage of the potential for flexibility of energy production, demand and storage resources. In this way, it contributes to meeting the demand for specific services for the electricity network, to make it safe, efficient and resilient.
The FEVER project has revealed that new domestic equipment must be developed with this aim.
In this respect, a charger for an electric vehicle is being developed that is domestic, two-way and integrated into a smart IoT environment, which enables a combination of the available resources in a domestic environment: consumption, photovoltaic generation, stationary storage and interaction with the distribution network.
A company is participating in the project that seeks to innovate in its products and offer solutions for its clients to optimise the energy management of homes and the interaction with the distribution network. The company distributes and markets electrical energy and has detected the need to transform the mature, traditional business of distribution towards new business opportunities, in the framework of what are known as smart grids.
FEVER is in an intermediate phase of execution, after capturing the detailed requirements of the drive system. This is a project whose objectives include establishing a framework of continuity in the relationship between the company and CITCEA-UPC.
The results of this project can be extrapolated to any other electrical energy system. The converters and control algorithms that have been developed can be applied to any technology that requires power electronics.
In addition, the variety of business models that open up is remarkable in a sector that is in full transformation from the traditional energy model (generation-transport-distribution) towards a renewable generation model, with flexible demand and storage capacity.
The project is in a very advanced stage, which enables the transfer of this technology to the market. The proposal has obtained positive feedback in relation to its feasibility from recognised institutions such as ESADE.
FEVER has a total budget of almost 10 million euros (€9,847,839.82) and is carried out in the framework of the Horizon 2020 (February 2020 – July 2023). The project participants are 18 members from 8 countries.