The transition from fossil fuel-based transportation to clean electric mobility has to be considered one of the crucial steps of decarbonization. In this sense, reducing the import of oil to gain political independence is as important as mitigating global warming due to CO2 emissions according to the international climate goals. Even though the strong projected increase of electric vehicles must be seen as a rather positive development, a number of new related challenges will arise for energy supply companies, grid operators, vehicle and charging-station manufacturers and eventually the customers.
Especially the continuously rising charge power in combination with an increasing supply by volatile sources result in high loads on the grid which may cause instabilities and – in the worst case – even blackouts.
Still, the development of fast charging stations with 100 kW and more is absolutely necessary to combat range anxiety attributed to EVs. Among experts, the lack of charging infrastructure is considered the biggest threat for electric mobility. In order to avoid a costly grid expansion and still provide a comprehensive network of fast-charging stations, new innovative solutions need to be found.
Within project FlyGrid a high-performance flywheel energy storage system (FESS) will be integrated into a fully automated fast-charging station. Even with only a low-voltage distribution grid at hand, high charge-power can be reached while at the same time stabilizing the grid. The system is suitable to integrate local renewable sources – for instance PV-modules on a car port – and hence contributes to increase the share of clean energy in the electricity mix. Superior cycle life of the energy storage device, the ability to feed high power back into the grid as well as easy transportability in the form of a mobile “fast-charging box” (for electric construction machinery or similar) are further characteristics of the FlyGrid concept.
FlyGrid is a disruptive technology, which can be developed and manufactured in Austria and plans to reach the following top-level goals with high socio-economic impact:
- Reduction of charging times of EVs and increase of EV market-penetration
- Higher customer satisfaction through improved charging network
- Avoidance of a costly electric grid expansion
- Improved integration of volatile renewable sources for EV propulsion
- Improved grid stability and power quality
- Portable, fast-charging solution for zero-emission construction equipment or events.
The versatile, interdisciplinary project consortium consisting of two research institutions and nine industry partners, the world’s first combination of flywheel energy storage, highly innovative, fully automated EV charging (easelink MATRIX CHARGING) and the integration of local renewables (Secar E-Port) all stress the uniqueness of the project.