Bunhill Energy Centre, copyright Islington Council
Bunhill Energy Centre, copyright Islington Council

Overview

The Analysis of the Potential of System Integration between Electric Vehicles and UK decentralised Energy project was led by Dr Salvador AchaDr Christos Markides and Professor Nilay Shah. It was overseen by Dr Dominique Bertin of EDF Energy R&D UK Centre. The work team was composed of  Auyon Chakrabarti, Rafael Proeglhoef, Gonzalo Bustos, and Dr Koen van Dam from the Department of Chemical Engineering.

The project was part of the EDF SparkFund, a collaboration between Energy Futures Lab and EDF Energy R&D UK Centre. This initiative enables short-term exploratory projects in areas of common interest to both. The expectation from these precursor projects is that they could lead to longer-term research projects.

This project examined the integration of electric vehicle (EV) charging into a district heating network so as to increase the value of exported electricity and improve the system’s financial feasibility.

Case study

The team used a district heating network (DHN) in the Borough of Islington. The Bunhill Heat and Power network serves 850 homes and two leisure centres.  It uses a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engine to produce heat and electricity and has led to reductions of around 10% in the heating bills for consumers in the scheme. There has also been a reduction of up to 60% in CO2 emissions.

The council is planning a new energy centre to supply heat to at least 454 additional homes, a school and a nursery. This will include an extra CHP unit and a heat pump that uses electricity supplied by the new CHP to produce heat.

The team's aim was to analyse the integration of electric vehicle (EV) charging into the council's plan as a future potential investment route for the council or a potential energy service company in their goal to become more energy efficient, while increasing revenue.

Workplan

The work plan included:

  • Use of agent-based modelling as a means to estimate EV charging behaviour
  • Optimisation of the district heating system taking into account different energy centre configurations
  • Consideration of external price signals in the operation and profitability of a potential system, such as electricity transmission tariffs and carbon taxes
  • Delivery of a widely applicable analytical tool to provide techno-economic insight for potential energy systems operators and developers

Results

The team was able to:

  • Model the DHN and optimise it to maximise profit or minimise CO2 emissions minimisation to determine an optimal strategy before the addition of EV charging
  • Integrate EV charging within the model with varying levels of adoption
  • Study the advantages of integrating EV charging within a DHN with regards to profitability and a reduction of CO2 emissions