Controller for smart vehicle-to-grid chargers

March 08, 2019 // By Nick Flaherty
Controller for smart vehicle-to-grid chargers
A UK project is looking to link smart buildings with electric vehicles and the electricity grid.

The VIGIL-ANM project combines a substation monitor from EdgeTech and the Envoy-ANM controller communicating with iHost platform from Nortech. The iHost platform determines the substation’s available capacity based on real-time network conditions from a controller deeloped by Bytesnap Design. The systems are all linked to a smart building at Aston University in Birmingham. 

"We are about half way through the two year project and we are creating a system where we are using a smart building effectively using that to buffer the grid," said Dunstan Power, Director of ByteSnap Design. Bytesnap has developed a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) controller which provides interoperability and control of any EV charger via the new OCPP 2.0 standard from the Open Charge Alliance. The controller reduces latency and improves system robustness by allowing direct control via the building management system. ByteSnap has also created a V2G mobile application which is being delivered together with an optimised building management system.

"The system looks at how much energy the building requires and can offset what it pulls from the grid by pulling energy from the vehicles to keep the grid power within the limits that the sub-station can handle," he said. "So in the future if you have lots of electric charging points around a shopping centre that could put a large load on the grid. Air conditioning is a major load on the building so rather than having to do a massive grid upgrade of the sub-station, the peaks of energy can be dealt with by pulling power from the vehicles."

"We are doing a boc that sits between the charger and  building with Modbus over Ethernet to the charger and communicated wvia OCCP to the GridEdge OCCP server," he said. This uses an NXP i.mx6 microcontroller running linux, WiFi and GPRS for communication to a local WiFi access point or the cellular network, and CAN interfaces for talking to chargers.  We designed the board to be used more widely than for VIGIL so we

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