Fleet monitoring to make last-mile logistics more sustainable

Everyone knows that last-mile logistics negatively affects cities’ air quality. Its relevance in the total greenhouse gas emissions is driving logistics operators to electrify their fleets. Whereas in the past, the customers valued the speed of the service more highly, there is now a greater concern for sustainability and the environment when making an online purchase. In parallel, making urban logistics more sustainable requires the promotion of the public administration at this point, for economic reasons.

In the framework of EU Urbane project, CIDAUT is studying how much the air quality in Valladolid would improve if urban delivery services were electrified. As part of the study, a number of specialised prototype vehicles, designed and developed by IFEVS, will be put into circulation. As a special feature, these vehicles are partially powered by photovoltaic energy. Although the brand has several models, only the van and cargo bike will be put into circulation in Valladolid.

The study is focused on Boecillo Technological Park and the central area of Valladolid, which has unique characteristics. Specifically, these are an important historical centre, with a lot of distribution demand by hotels, restaurants and cafes, and a lot of pedestrians. CIDAUT has reached an agreement with the Spanish postal service so that they make deliveries of letters and parcels on the IFEVS vehicles.  Their routes are being monitored; both with the vehicles they normally use and soon with the prototype vehicles, in order to establish a comparative of how much the city’s air quality would improve if electric vehicles were used.

As mentioned above, this study is supported by EU Urbane project, funding from Horizon Europe under Grant Agreement nº 101069782.

Smart charging as key technology for the development of Green Buildings and Neighborhoods (GBNs)

In the latest years, a growing number of cities are leveraging on mobility-related interventions at urban and peri-urban scale to enhance many aspects of citizens’ life such as sustainability, inclusiveness, social cohesion, or public health. In PROBONO, mobility at Living Lab scale is envisioned as a key enabler of GBNs, thanks to the implementation of smart charging-related functionalities in the local energy network.

It is widely known that the electrification of transport is considered a major driver of the green transition. But at the same time it is also clear that the deployment of vast amounts of EVs in our neighborhoods will have a massive impact on the current electricity systems, mainly in terms of installed capacity and power handling. This is due to the fact that users’ EV charging patterns may lead to intense peaks in power demand, which will require extra investments in infrastructure to update electric networks, provided that EV charging infrastructure continue to be based on regular, unidirectional charging points.

Smart charging, enabled by bi-directional chargers can be the key to avoid this kind of problems. By using bi-directional chargers, power can be transferred either from the grid to the EVs, or the other way around. The main objective of smart charging is to manage EV charging demands intelligently, so that it doesn’t destabilize the overall electric network. For this purpose, two main strategies are put in place: load balancing (shifting EV charging demand to off-peak hours), and peak shaving (use energy stored in EV to reduce the intensity of peak demand).

Through smart charging, EVs with bidirectional charging capability can be used as multi-purpose energy banks able to take out or feed energy into the electricity grid, for various applications:

  • Vehicle-to-Load (V2L): the EV battery is employed to feed any regular appliances or other EVs by transferring power through a generic power plug, no matter the location of the EV and the load. It does not need the installation of a bi-directional charger to operate, and it can be used to power critical loads during an outage, or to power appliances when on the road.
  • Vehicle-to-Home (V2H): vehicle-to-home consists on extracting energy from an EV battery, to power a home during a certain time period, instead of being fed by the electricity grid. One of most interesting applications of this technology is power outage prevention.
  • Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G): vehicle-to-grid takes place when a portion of the EV battery energy is introduced into the electricity grid, usually in exchange for an incentive for the EV owner. V2G charging can help to minimize the impact on the power generation systems during peak demands, hence increasing the grid flexibility, resilience and stability.

In practice, the management of EVs charging can be integrated in the general GBN energy management system to maximize energy savings. To this end, the system can prioritise the charge of the vehicles attending to users’ needs, as well as energy availability considering a high portion of the energy being produced by renewable sources. It also allows optimizing the operating cost of the network, and avoiding grid congestions at GBN scale. At the same time, smart charging can generate incomes to GBN inhabitants, mainly through V2G energy transfer, therefore lowering the ownership costs of EVs.

The research leading to these results has received funding from Horizon 2020 Green Deal  under Grant Agreement 101037075

Boosting the hydrogen economy as one of CIDAUT’s challenges.

CIDAUT continues with the dissemination of the interesting opportunities offered by the use of hydrogen technologies in different fields such as aerospace, military land vehicles or in biogas generation facilities.

The 16th International Bioenergy Congress was held in Valladolid on October 3 and 4 together with the Renewable Gas Exhibition, organized by AVEBIOM. Within this congress CIDAUT had the opportunity to present the Colhibri project. This project, approved in the first call for projects PERTE ERHA incentive program 4 of the IDAE, is a research for the development of new systems for the production of electrical and thermal energy based on H2 technologies that constitute a more efficient and cleaner alternative to the current cogenerations based on biogas combustion in combustion engines (RICE), as well as achieving an advantageous solution both in investment costs and operating costs.

On November 7, MFM Academy organized an event at the Getafe Market space entitled “Hydrogen in the aerospace sector”. José Ignacio Domínguez, project manager of the Energy area of CIDAUT, on behalf of AeH2, participated in the table dedicated to the use of hydrogen in mobility, discussing with the rest of the speakers on the current situation and prospects for the use of H2 in mobility in Spain, as well as focusing on the key points to work on to promote the introduction of the use of this decarbonizing energy vector in the transport sector.

Regarding the use of technologies in the Defense sector, CIDAUT had the opportunity to participate in the X National Congress of R&D in Defense and Security (DESEi+d 2023), which took place in the Marine Infantry School “General Albacete y Fuster” (EIMGAF), located in Cartagena, during the 14th, 15th and 16th of November 2023. During the presentation, the working approach of the PCVEMI project was presented, which focuses on the development of a propulsion system based on a national fuel cell for use in military land vehicle platforms.

The AIHRE project is ready to take off

Last 17th of November we celebrated the official KoM of the AIHRE project ‘Analysis and Promotion of Renewable H2 in the POCTEP region’ at the premises of CIDAUT, coordinator of the project.

AIHRE is a 3-year project funded with 1.5 million euros by the Interreg Spain – Portugal Programme (POCTEP). Its objective is the creation of a new cooperation network for research and transfer in the design, operation, management and integration of energy systems based on renewable hydrogen of great interest for implementation in the Poctep area in Spain and Portugal. This network will promote the economic development of the POCTEP region around the green hydrogen value chain in industry. To this end, the AIHRE project aims at strengthening and consolidating research capacities in the POCTEP territory, identifying solutions for the application of renewable hydrogen value chains and promoting knowledge and tools for the implementation of a renewable hydrogen economy in the Poctep area.

The consortium is made up of nine partners, 5 Spanish: CIDAUT, CTA (Technological Corporation of Andalusia), University of Seville, National Institute of Aerospace Technology “Esteban Terradas”, ITG Technological Institute of Galicia and 4 Portuguese: INEGI, University of Porto, University of Évora and Polytechnic Institute of Portalegre. It is a highly complementary network including universities, technology centres and business clusters.

The kick-off meeting started with a brief presentation of each of the entities and a review of the objectives, tasks and results pursued by the project, as well as a review of the timeline for its achievement.

After the meeting, the consortium visited the CIDAUT facilities for the development of hydrogen technologies HyCid.

You can follow the AIHRE progress on our social media and soon on our website to learn more about this exciting initiative. AIHRE is ready to power green hydrogen!

FENNAC PROJECT – Scaling up of production line for ALTRIS cathode material Fennac for use in sodium-ion batteries

Swedish sodium-ion battery developer ALTRIS was selected by InnoEnergy as one of the winning applications for a 2-year innovation project that aimed to scale up its cathode material for Na-ion batteries. The InnoEnergy’s Innovation Project initiative selects companies with sustainable energy innovations that have high commercial potential and provides them with investment funding.

FENNAC project focused on two areas: production scale-up / commercialisation of Fennac, as well as performance and safety testing. ALTRIS was thankful to be joined by two heavyweight partners to realise this project. Ahlstrom-Munksjö, a French manufacturer of fiber-based products that provided heat-resistant separators for the Fennac-based battery cells and CIDAUT the Foundation for Transport and Energy Research and Development in Spain to develop and perform safety cell testing.

https://www.altris.se/news/scaling-up-production-of-fennac-in-2022

The project kicked off in July 2021 with an extensive feasibility study, which included analysis of the market, competitors, value chain, IP protection strategy, business model, and financial projections. The project finished in July 2023 and the outcomes of the project were presented including the design of the pilot production line, procurement of the required large-scale equipment, the design of the recycling system and the required equipment from Altris. CIDAUT also presented his extensively work on the development of test protocols for the safety of Fennac-based cells, with results from the cell components mechanical deformation analysis, the different abuse tests on the complete cells and the simulation models developed in the project to understand the severity of failures in the Na-ion batteries.

Outcomes from the FENNAC project were recently presented from ALTRIS with their commercial-sized sodium-ion battery cell with the highest energy density to date (160 Wh/kg). This achievement is made in a research partnership with NORTHVOLT, a Swedish supplier of high-quality battery cells, which intends to use sodium-ion technology as a foundation for its next-generation energy storage solutions in upcoming markets.