Electricity grids can be powered by different generating sources. Fossil-fuel powered sources release significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming and causing negative climate change effects that have a detrimental impact on many species on Earth. Renewable energy generating sources, on the other hand, do not have these associated emissions. However, renewable energy such as solar and wind power are often only available to power the grid at certain times of the day. When they are not available, the grid has to pull from more “dirty”, emissions-heavy sources like coal and natural gas plants. Additionally, grids might still have to pull from dirtier sources of power during periods of peak energy demand when the renewable energy sources are used up and utilities need to supply more power.
Electric vehicles (EVs) will have lower emissions factors if the grid that powers them is itself powered by “cleaner” sources of energy. Maximizing the use of renewable energy instead of fossil fuels to power EVs would lower their associated greenhouse gas emissions.
JuiceNet can control any EV charging stations connected to WiFi and shift both the timing and amount of electricity flow to optimize grid electricity prices and demand. It reduces costs and stress for utilities and grid operators by only allowing discharging during off-peak demand periods and maximizes the use of solar and wind power. (https://evcharging.enelx.com/products/juicenet-software/juicenet)
The first step in implementing JuiceNet and the JuiceNet Enterprise add-on is completing an assessment of all charging stations owned or operated by a given entity to determine all locations of chargers and general charging history patterns. The Enterprise add-on is meant to manage large numbers of chargers, so charger fleet owners should definitely consider first if they actually need the Enterprise add-on (in other words, do they have enough stations to justify a software that is meant to manage many of them).
The second step would be conducting consumer surveys to assess the user friendliness of the software. The software should be easy enough to use so that the user can go with presets that optimize charging times and amounts without having to adjust settings. At the same time, the software should allow users to easily override presets in case of unique circumstances. Identifying flaws in usability from the beginning of implementation is critical to long-term success and effectiveness of the technology.
Next, a financial assessment should be conducted to calculate potential cost savings for customers. In order for the software to be utilized, the business case must be made clear. If the future users can be convinced that they will save money in the long-run, they will be much more likely to use and take advantage of the technology.
1) Sustainability Problem: Energy (Transportation)
70%+ of the energy that comes in the form of crude oil goes into the transportation sector1. In 2019, transportation was the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (29%) in the United States. The transportation sector’s reliance on fossil fuels and global reliance on transportation creates a handful of sustainability problems, including pollution and emissions. Electric vehicles can help to address some of these challenges, although it is worth noting that EVs themselves require charging from a grid that also relies heavily on fossil fuels and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and that the materials for the batteries (both sourcing and disposal) also have environmental impacts.
2) Sustainability Technology: Rivian Electric Vans
Amazon plans to use Rivian’s electric vans in 16 US locations. They began to use them in Denver, Colorado in late April 2021. The use of these electric vans is of particular interest to Coloradans because SUVs and trucks are the most popular vehicle types in the state.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission approved the installation of public charging stations in every state park. Furthermore, the Regional Air Quality Council granted Amazon $71,000 (through the Charge Ahead Colorado grant) for seven charging stations. It is anticipated that the first of these charging stations will be installed in July.
The Amazon vans have an expected range of 150 miles, whereas consumer models (R1T electric truck and R1S electric SUV) have an expected range of 300 miles.
Rivian has raised $8bn in venture funding (as of January 2021), and has sold out its launch edition vehicles (the preorders of which are expected to be delivered this summer). All future vehicle pre-orders will not be delivered until 2022.
Amazon will continue other electric vehicles in its fleet as well (20 million Amazon packages in North America and Europe have already been delivered by electric vehicle), and anticipates that by next year it will have 10,000 Rivians in use as delivery vehicles.
Amazon (delivery team)
Vehicle users (should they purchase a Rivian vehicle)
Rivian (and investors)
State regulatory and governing bodies, e.g. Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, Regional Air Quality Council
4) First Three Steps in Deploying This Technology
Assess feasibility of integrating Rivian vans into Amazon’s fleet and the broader transportation infrastructure in the areas to which Amazon delivers.
Raise awareness of the Rivian vehicles to market to a wider consumer base.
Invest in the ability to grow the charging infrastructure concurrently with the demand for these vehicles.
1. Problem: Electric Vehicle Charging Fragmentation Sustainability Category: Energy Management, Mobility
29% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States are from transportation with internal combustion engine vehicles being the highest source. With only about 1% of cars on the road being electric today, range anxiety from the lack of widespread charging infrastructure is a primary adoption barrier.
As the electric vehicle (EV) charging technology sector develops, closed charging infrastructure networks generate friction for hardware manufacturers, software developers, and drivers. Electric vehicle infrastructure developed by private network operators create silos that limit value for stakeholders. Industry fragmentation forces EV drivers to join multiple networks with varying accounts to access public chargers. The lack of standards leads to duplicative development effort to integrate charging stations and backend networks with energy systems. This limits providers from offering additional features across all providers.
2. Solution: Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) The Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) is a charging infrastructure standard for EV charging station, Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), and back end software communication. OCPP reduces friction and fragmentation by increasing flexibility across the electric vehicle infrastructure industry for organizations and drivers.
— OCPP is an open-source, free standard published by Open Charge Alliance (OCA) that enables interoperability between charging infrastructure hardware and software networks. — This neutral, open standard enables charging station vendors to access, share, and collect data with backend charge management operators so the widest amount of products can work together. — On the charging station, OCPP enables charging station discovery, reservations, session authorization, billing information collection, and real-time charging data. — On the backend software, OCPP enables real-time status of charging stations, remote charging session control, firmware management, and error notification. — OCPP 1.6 is a JSON protocol that was released in 2015 and is the most widely used version in market today. OCPP 2.0 was launched in 2018 and provides major data encryption security updates. OCPP 2.0.1 is the latest version and was launched on March 31, 2020.
OCPP is primarily utilized by charging station product, design, and engineering teams. Key organizations that are stakeholders in the OCPP ecosystem include:
— Open Charge Alliance (OCA):An international consortium of private and public EV infrastructure organizations that leads OCPP development, adoption, and certification. — Network Management System Providers: GreenLots and ChargeLab are two EV charging network software providers that manage charging stations across manufacturers via OCPP. — Charging Station Manufacturers: Blink and EVBox are two EV charging station manufacturers that use to connect devices to OCPP supported backend systems. — EV Drivers:Mobile applications across providers initiate and manage charging sessions. — EV OEMs: Manufacturers integrate OCPP on the in-car display to manage charging sessions.
Once a hardware or software company decides to use OCPP, the following steps are taken: 1. The product management team will integrate OCPP in the roadmap and define requirements. 2. The design team will incorporate the OCPP functionality into hardware or software features. 3. Once approved, the engineering team will develop, test, and deploy OCPP features.
1) Sustainability issue: Mass transportation and energy
Flexible solutions for mass transportation is not really an option in today’s society. One is always dependent on the transportation company’s schedule. Ubers are an alternative for transportation, but it does not cater to the masses and it is an expensive alternative for one person. But what if we could merge the bus and the Uber and make a flexible solution for mass transportation that is energy and cost efficient? That is what Olli is.
2) Olli – the electric mini bus
In Maryland in June 2016, the mini bus Olli started running. Olli is a driverless bus powered by IBM’s Watson technology. Olli is like Uber in the way that you order a ride with it and pay for it in the app. You don’t need a fixed bus stop, Olli will pick you up where you are.
It does not operate on a fixed schedule and is ideal for those short distances between your home and where you need to be. It fills in the gaps in public transportation and covers your entire travel route, without you having to walk an inch.
It is also a sustainable alternative to public transport as it is electrically run, and will not release toxic gases on its way. It will be both cost- and energy efficient.
It will also work as a smart assistant, and the passengers can ask it for restaurant recommendations or what the weather is like at the destination.
City transportation planners
Create more of the Olli and test it in other cities
Make the routes it can take as efficient as possible
“This will be helpful for so many EV drivers as they will be able to get their charge practically anywhere. In the distant future, this technology could maybe also be expanded to other areas, like electric ships or even just to charge the phone of a poor soul lost in the woods. It could potentially save lives, both in traffic and other places.”
EV adoption is a chicken and egg sort of problem. Both sides of the market, vehicle owners and charging infrastructure owners, have to feel secure there will be critical mass of the other side to comfortable deploy their capital. Range anxiety is one of the primary barriers to prospective vehicle owners. The fear that mobility and productivity will be limited by the abbreviated range offered by EV batteries coupled with the long duration of recharging reinforces that perception.
From the article:
[If a car was able to be charged while it was being driven, then this would solve the problem of limited range and enable vehicles to travel for potentially unlimited distances.]
The transportation sector was responsible for 27% of all U.S. GHG emissions in 2015, 2nd only to Electricity generation. [EPA.gov] The faster transportation is electrified, and the faster that electricity can be produced from renewable sources, the more likely we are to mitigate the worst consequences of global temperature rise.
2) Technology Summary:
Article: Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging Breakthrough Achieved
As is well understood, the greater the percentage of EV fuel derived from renewable sources, the greater the sustainability edge is to electrified transportation over fossil-fuel based transportation.
The need for separate electrical equipment to handle PV capture and EV charging is both a cost and a hassle barrier to adoption. Not all PV users drive EV’s, and not all EV drivers have roofs with PV panels but this is a population which will grow exponentially as both technologies improve and become ubiquitous.
The increased efficiency in EV charging by leveraging gathered solar energy at the point of collection is a material gain to the consumer/homeowner.
From the manufacturer:
The SolarEdge HD-Wave inverter with integrated EV charger offers homeowners the ability to charge electric vehicles up to six times faster than a standard Level 1 charger through an innovative solar boost mode that utilizes grid and PV charging simultaneously. This product is the first PV inverter-integrated EV charger.
The SolarEdge HD-Wave inverter-integrated EV charger reduces the hassle of installing a separate standalone EV charger and a PV inverter. Furthermore, it eliminates the need for additional wiring, conduit and a breaker installation. By installing an EV charger that is integrated with an inverter, no additional dedicated circuit breaker is needed, saving space and ruling out a potential upgrade to the main distribution panel.
2) Technology Summary:
Article: SolarEdge unveils inverter-integrated EV charger
Kuhn&Komatsu have developed a massive new all-electric mining vehicle known as the “E-Dumper”. I liked reading about this vehicle because it represents such a simple yet effective idea: heavy thing going downhill can store its energy through breaking (two birds one stone), and use that energy to put the now-lighter truck back up the hill (three birds one stone!).
-Mining trucks historically are absolute monsters of fossil fuel usage. They need immense power to remove tons and tons of material from mines.
-Much of the time a truck full of materials is going downhill to drop off its load, and then goes back uphill much lighter to be refilled. This downhill phase is very brake-intensive, and the uphill phase is a breeze comparatively.
-This new all electric engine contains a massive battery that charges when the truck moves downhill. Instead of conventional braking, the force of the braking is used to charge a battery.
-With this energy-producing framework, trucks with routes like this (heavy downhill light uphill) can actually generate clean energy that they store per day, effectively using none at all. Of course in actuality one should also expect cases where a heavy truck drives uphill and a light truck goes downhill, like when leaving a quarry, but this doesn’t change the fact that in some mining scenarios this truck consumes no energy and actually produces it.
Truck producers Kuhn & Komatsu
Electric utilities receiving excess electricity from trucks
1 – Assess feasibility of wide production of these huge batteries / their lifespans (is it worth it?)
2 – Market the truck to other mining outfits
3 – Develop a framework for mass production if one is not already in place.