Award “Most Significant Innovation in Electric Vehicles” for TU Delft and PRE

The research from Gautham Ram Chandra Mouli and Pavol Bauer has been awarded with the award “Most Significant Innovation in Electric Vehicles”. Chandra Mouli and Bauer, from the TU Delft, have been awarded the award for a quick charger that can charge cars directly with electricity. ‘This is a real recognition for the research, and a recognition for TKI Urban Energy that financially supported the project’ Mouli says. The charger has been developed together with the companies Power Research Electronics and Last Mile Solutions. In addition to this, the project has been funded by the Dutch Urban Energy Top Consortium (TKI Urban Energy).

“Currently, the charging stations are using the 50Hz AC network to exchange power between solar panels and the vehicle” explains Chandra Mouli. Regular solar panels generate direct current (DC) which has to be converted to alternating current when it is used to charge an electric vehicle. According to Chandra Mouli, this is not efficient or cost-effective. “Converting to AC results in unnecessary steps and loss. And, secondly, it requires two separate DC-AC converters, one for the vehicle and one for the solar panels, resulting in increased costs and dimensions.’

Therefore, Chandra Mouli developed a more self-evident solution: to use a single converter for both DC and AC. This converter could charge the vehicle via DC while it is also being connected to the AC electricity grid. In the study, which won the award, a 10kW converter has been designed, with an internal DC link and three terminals, which can charge the vehicle both from the solar panels and the electricity grid. The integrated DC charger has a higher efficiency and is about three times smaller than existing solutions based on AC power exchange.’ The use of this charger means that the electricity grid is no longer needed as an interim stage in charging.

In addition, the system works two ways: not only can you charge your electric car with solar power, the energy from the charged car battery can also be used to supply your house with electricity. Moreover, it is also possible to deliver electricity back to the grid, although this first requires conversion into alternating current. ‘The developed converter is used in a solar charging station, including smart charging algorithms. Charging the vehicle with solar energy resulted in zero CO2 emission, lower fuel costs, tax benefits and less dependence on the feed-in tariffs for renewable energy.’