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Feature Story | Argonne National Laboratory

Argonne-led collaborations pave the way for a greener tomorrow

Newly funded projects will contribute to innovative, advanced electric vehicle charging.

The path is being paved to make electric vehicles (EVs) more appealing to more customers. Researchers across multiple disciplines at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are leading new collaborations that will discover how to deploy innovative charging capabilities in new projects.

Argonne scientists received funding from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Vehicle Technologies Office, which recently awarded $139 million for 55 projects throughout the United States to advance innovative vehicle technologies. Argonne’s projects involve close partnerships with state agencies, university researchers and electric utilities.

Our projects focus on transportation electrification and electric vehicle (EV) charging.” — Yan (Joann) Zhou, principal analyst and group leader, Vehicle and Energy Technology & Mobility Analysis, Energy Systems division

Our projects focus on transportation electrification and electric vehicle charging in a broad, multi-disciplinary way,” said Yan (Joann) Zhou, principal analyst and group leader of Vehicle and Energy Technology & Mobility Analysis in the Energy Systems division.

One project will test a particular set of smart charging devices and approaches, and quantify potential benefits to electric vehicle (EV) owners and distribution grid operators in the Maryland area. Led by Exelon Corporation, with Argonne and other partners, this four-year project received $5 million in funding. Scientists will test smart charging equipment, create models of charging infrastructure demand, study how demand affects the grid, and analyze cybersecurity needs and implications.

Since most current EV charging stations lack networks that directly communicate between the vehicle and utility, researchers will install 1,000 Argonne-developed Smart Charge Adapters (a finalist for an R&D 100 award in 2017) at locations to be determined by their infrastructure modeling.

The adapters will link the stations in a network that allows Exelon to implement smart energy management programs for EVs across their service area (in Maryland),” said Keith Hardy, program lead, Interoperability and Grid Integration.

Managed and coordinated EV charging could also potentially save money for both EV owners and rate payers, allow for high usage of renewable energy sources, as well as promote more EV adoption,” said Dongbo Zhao, principal Energy Systems scientist with Argonne’s Center for Energy, Environmental, and Economic Systems Analysis.

Exelon Corporation has partnered with Argonne in the past and established a cooperative research and development agreement, Zhou said.

Researchers will use the Argonne-Exelon copyrighted software tool, Agent-based Transportation Analysis Model (ATEAM), to examine potential smart charger locations as well as to study how smart charging management can aid both EV adoption and charging deployment,” Zhou said.

Another project will develop an electrification ecosystem” for intermodal and intercity travel, and is a partnership led by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy. Other partners include Clean Cities Coalitions, electric utilities, transportation network companies, and intermodal hubs — locations that centralize different transportation modes for easy exchange between types. Awarded $6 million in funding, this four-year project seeks to connect major cities and transportation hubs, including rail terminals, airports and seaports, with EV charging and promote EV adoption in the area.

We hope to start a regional ecosystem for Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland and West Virginia, allowing all sizes of EVs to be used by fleets, transportation network companies and consumers,” said Marcy Rood, principal analyst and Argonne’s Technology Integration/Clean Cities team lead. This ecosystem will connect the Capital Region’s cities with EV corridors, permit charging at multimodal hubs and logistics centers, and increase the attractiveness and profile of electric transportation. It will also address social equity issues in neighborhoods near these hubs and within cities and towns.”

Argonne energy scientists will analyze costs and emissions to quantify expected benefits from electric chargers and vehicles and help promote the electrification ecosystem.” They will also collaborate with Argonne environmental scientists to model energy resources in the study area, Zhou said.

Another project, with $350,000 in funding, is a partnership led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For this project, Argonne will analyze techno-economic aspects of EV community charging hubs.

We hope to develop a novel and open-source computational framework to synthesize and classify EV charging profiles for residents of multi-unit dwellings and estimate time-of-day energy use to help them manage charging hubs,” Zhou said.

With these electric vehicle charging projects, Argonne is advancing vehicle technologies and paving the way for a greener transportation tomorrow.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy supports early-stage research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to strengthen U.S. economic growth, energy security, and environmental quality.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.