The use of direct current distribution systems in delivering scalable charging infrastructure for battery electric vehicles

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2020
Thesis identifier
  • T16119
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 201456099
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • The use of low voltage direct current (LVDC) distribution is becoming recognised as a technology enabler that can be used to efficiently network native DC generators with DC loads, offer improved power sharing capabilities, reduce power system material resource requirements and enhance the performance of variable speed machinery. Practical deployment opportunities for LVDC range from small-scale microgrids in the context of energy for development to sophisticated, modern building-level power distribution systems for commercial office spaces, manufacturing applications and industrial processes. However, the incumbent AC distribution system benefits from existing technical product and safety standards, which makes the early adoption of LVDC systems challenging from a risk and cost perspective. Concurrently, the demand for native DC loads such as Battery Electric Transportation Systems is growing. This is especially significant in the area of private electric vehicles (EVs), taxis and buses, but the prospect of electric trucks, ferries and shortrange aircraft are also tangible opportunities. The success of this electric transport revolution depends on several factors, one of which is the availability of battery charging infrastructure that can cost effectively integrate with the existing electrical network, deliver adequate energy transfer rates and adapt to the rapid technical development of this industry. This thesis explores the application of two, novel LVDC distribution systems for the development of scalable EV charging networks; where charging infrastructure has the ability to scale with increasing EV adoption and has a lower risk of becoming a stranded asset in the future. The modelling is supported by real, rapid DC charger utilisation data from the national charging network in Scotland, comprising over 192 chargers and 400,000 charging events. During the work of this thesis, it was found that a combined heat and power (CHP) system can economically support short duration charging scenarios by providing additional power capacity in a congested electrical grid. In this case the highest system efficiency and Net Present Value (NPV) is achieved with a fuel cell directly connected to the DC charging network, compared to other gas reciprocating CHP options. Furthermore, the proposition of a reconfigurable LVDC charging network, interfaced to the public AC distribution network, reduces the capital outlay, offers a higher NPV and improved scalability compared to other charging solutions. For charging system designers and operators, it was found that rapid DC chargers can be classified by specific locations, each possessing a distinct Gaussian arrival pattern and Gamma distribution for charging energy delivered.
Advisor / supervisor
  • Galloway, Stuart
Resource Type