A team of Burns & McDonnell engineers, along with subcontractor Coritech Services, has developed a system of bidirectional, fast-charging stations for a fleet of plug-in electric vehicles at Fort Carson, Colorado. This first-of-its-kind system will push power back to the base microgrid when needed to meet installation demand or improve overall power quality.
On Aug. 29, the team successfully commissioned five bidirectional chargers and the aggregating control system as part of the Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security (SPIDERS) microgrid project at Fort Carson. Commissioning was performed using both Boulder Electric Vehicle and Smith Electric trucks, which are being provided for use on SPIDERS under separate agreements with the U.S. Army’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) and Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).
Commissioning of the vehicle charging stations represents an important milestone of the Fort Carson SPIDERS project, which is nearing completion. The project is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Omaha District, and includes technical guidance from CERL and TARDEC.
The bidirectional charging units are capable of providing up to 300 kilowatts (kW) of power to plug-in electric vehicles and also can discharge a like amount of stored energy from the vehicle batteries to the grid or microgrid via Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standard J1772-compliant bidirectional charging cables. The vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging includes power factor correction, which is a growing concern at locations such as Fort Carson that are experiencing a growth in on-site solar power generation, resulting in utility rate penalties.
Here’s what a Smith Electric Vehicle looks like, both inside and out: