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Localised energy generation and storage for EV fleet vehicle charging

Project Description

Continued population growth has lead to increased transport demands, to, from, and within urban areas. This has significantly impacted upon urban air quality, resulting in increased pressure to improve air quality and address sources of pollution from transport. Many local authorities in the UK (and beyond) are required to take local leadership on tackling air pollution, achieved through the introduction of policy to establish Clean Air Zones and Low Emission Zones in major UK towns and cities, as part of the government’s broader Air Quality Plan. These all serve to encourage the exploration and adoption of cleaner emission and cleaner fuelled vehicles, particularly for commercial fleets that are the main focus of many clean air zone policies.

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are a potentially effective technological response to address EU targets to reduce road transport emissions. However, EVs are not entirely emission free, with many using grid generated electricity to charge on-board batteries, thus emissions are generated further upstream in the electricity supply chain. Further, growing promotion of EV use, from private cars to commercial vehicle fleets, particularly in urban environments, has practical implications around the challenge of electricity grid capacity for mass EV charging, requiring significant infrastructure investment to upgrade the existing grid supply in the UK.

This project would explore the feasibility of localised generation of energy at a commercial fleet depot for EV vehicle charging. Through an assessment of available battery energy storage capacity, modelled against vehicle fleet size and fleet usage data, the project would seek to identify the potential for localised energy storage and additional grid support. Thus unlocking the value and revenue generating potential that is created from unspent/unused capacity being returned to the grid.

This project will adopt a synergic ‘full systems’ approach, including the opportunity for cross disciplinary research, to examine both the technical issues presented by the system, and the socio-technical and techno-economic benefits/costs to all stakeholders. Thus, this project seeks to examine the feasibility of using vehicle fleets e.g. electric refuse trucks that operate city wide for localised energy storage and charging at depot.

This interdisciplinary PhD project seeks to:

• Examine the feasibility of using EV batteries for grid support and localised energy storage for all-electric and hybrid-electric vehicle fleets.
• Determine the impact on emissions reduction of using localised energy storage through EVs at mass charging points.
• Explore the economic, and socio-political aspects of energy storage and revenue streams from electric vehicle usage.
• Evaluate the business case for using commercial EV fleets for pseudo-stationary energy storage using EVs.
• Determine the barriers and drivers for fleet EV users to utilise mass energy storage and charging facilities.
• Assess the suitability of fleet vehicle depot locations for EV grid storage and charging - in terms of scale, scope, acceptability etc.
• Identify and evaluate the technical barriers to implementation of EV grid storage in commercial fleet locations and maximise the benefits to all players.

The research will be of relevance to energy suppliers, distribution network operators, National grid, policy makers, EV manufacturers, battery recyclers etc.

The successful candidate will have an academic background in engineering, transport/logistics, business studies or a related science based discipline. For further information on entry requirements, please see:

Funding Notes

The studentship is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral Training Studentship scheme. The EPSRC DTP Grant will pay RCUK fees and stipend for up to 3.5 years and a RTSG of £1000 per annum.
Normal EPSRC nationality and residency eligibility requirements therefore apply to recruitment to this award. To be eligible the applicant will need to be a citizen of the UK or EU.

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Business and Management Studies?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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