The electric car revolution is not just about the car itself, but all the other major changes that need to be modified to adjust to the new demand. One of the key areas being looked at is the effect of the electric car demand on the power grid in the United States.
A current study at University of Notre Dame is doing just that, exploring how the expanding electric car market would affect the U.S. power grid. The research is funded in part by the National Science Foundation’s Physical Systems Program. The process involves the development of mathematical algorithms that would help in guiding the integration of plug-in electric vehicles to the national grid.
Initial findings from the research team lauded the benefits that electric cars can provide their owners as well as the transportation industry and the electric companies. Their low impact would also help the environment. While there are win-win solutions, there are also drawbacks that need to be addressed. These include: balancing electricity demand and supply as well as the existing infrastructure in the transportation and delivery of electrical power to the end user.
According to the study lead, Vijay Gupta, “Electrification of the transportation market offers revenue growth for utility companies and automobile manufacturers, lower operational costs for consumers and benefits to the environment.” He adds, “By addressing problems that will arise as PEV impose extra load on the grid and by solving the challenges that currently impede the use of PEVs as distributed storage resources, this research will directly impact society.”
Another industry that needs development and support would be the battery market. Researchers at the Ohio State University have discovered a means that can provide a better battery to be used for both electric and hybrid cars.
The study used lithium ion batteries and researchers found that as the batteries age, the lithium accumulates what is termed as a ‘current collector’. This substance is a sheet of copper that helps in facilitating better electron transfer between the electrodes in the car’s electrical system. This discovery can help in improving battery design for cars, as well as provide enhanced performance and battery life for the user.
According to study lead, Bharat Bhushan, “Our study shows that the copper current collector plays a role in the performance of the battery. We didn’t set out to find lithium in the current collector, so you could say we accidentally discovered it and how it got there is a bit of a mystery. As far as we know, nobody has ever expected active lithium to migrant inside the current collector.”
Many hybrid electric and all electric car platforms utilize lithium ion batteries in their systems as rechargeable power packs. The lithium ions travel between the anode and cathode end of the battery. When charging, the electrons are on the anode end while they are all at the cathode end when discharging. The current discovery debunks the long held belief that when a battery ages, the lithium builds up on the anode’s surface resulting in loss of charge capacity.
One step at a time for the Electric Car Support Developments.