CSIRO is an Australian research organization. CSIRO is working in collaboration with Victorian energy distributor SP AusNet. They both are aiming to evaluate the impact and benefits of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the electricity network. They are also trying to figure out how this low emission transport option could be incorporated into our homes and cities in the future. They are opting out for a three-month trial of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The staff of the energy distributor SP AusNet will use a modified PHEV for their daily commute and other leisurely journeys.
Phillip Paevere, the CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship scientist, is sharing his views, “When not needed, the parked car in the driveway could potentially become a large battery store and energy source for the house, running appliances or storing off-peak or surplus electricity generated from on-site renewable generators, such as solar panels.”
CSIRO engineers have modified these vehicles so that they can carry a 30Ah NiMH battery and also a battery charger. The battery charger will allow the vehicle to be charged up directly from the grid or on-site renewables. These adaptations will also enable the researcher to find out how PHEVs could be used as a ‘mobile battery.’ This mobile battery can be integrated and used at home. The same study trial will also examine the probable impact of extensive use of PHEVs on electricity demand and the network.
So the next three months for the staff from Victorian energy distributor SP AusNet are quite crucial. Dr Phillip Paevere tries to explain the process of working, “The PHEVs have been fitted with instruments which will monitor the travel patterns of different users, and the residual battery power left in the car at the end of the day, which could be available for other uses.”
SP AusNet spokesperson, Sean Sampson shed some light on the study trial. According to him this project will also permit a thorough analysis of what the electricity demands are likely to be when PHEVs are connected to the network for charging. As per Mr. Sampson, “The introduction of electric vehicles into the mainstream market could have a significant impact on the electricity network. They may also dramatically affect the output at residential and retail outlets and the forecasted growth of peak and base demands.”
It has to be noted that the transport sector of Australia contributes for 14 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions. Naturally, PHEVs will be helpful in lessening these harmful emissions. They will also assist in finding an alternative method to meet peak demand on the electricity grid. How? The answer is simple. By managing and monitoring when PHEVs are recharging from the electricity network, the burden of demand can be shifted.
Additionally, the car battery can be utilized to supply power during peak periods of demand. This will help in dealing with blackouts when there is a network supply interruption. Hopefully all these logical steps will lead towards maintaining the overall stability of the network.
The study, evaluation and analysis of the road trial would be the first phase in understanding the potential for using PHEVs in Australian homes. The PHEV technology will also be used in the home energy system of CSIRO’s Zero Emission House (AusZEH) project.