Updates from Oud-Heverlee: the first data are coming in!
Now at the Oud-Heverlee demo site all devices installed under the project (hybrid heat pumps, Glenn-Dimplex devices, Engie gateways, the neighbourhood battery and the V2G) have been fully commissioned with the first data coming in. The MUSE GRIDS controller can now for the first time control all its assets at the same time.
This means that the different devices will behave according to the setpoints that have been based on the forecasted energy use and production of the community. For example, the boilers will shift the water heating times as much as possible to times with excess solar production in the neighbourhood. This, of course, has to be amended with well-chosen safety strategies to ensure the comfort of the residents. Next to this we also try to keep the line voltage within an acceptable range to prevent curtailment of solar production.
Preliminary benefits/challenges and lessons learned
The first challenges appear in keeping all devices online. Residents may unplug devices leading to no external control being possible. In other cases, data connections can get lost, since the 4G reception is very poor in some parts of the street external antennas have had to be used. These can also come loose leading to again no data being transmitted.
The battery algorithm in the preliminary results seems to be capable of reducing the voltage in the street during moments of high solar production. This is one of the technical goals of the project in Oud-Heverlee. The cables in the street of the demo site are quite old and under dimensioned for the current consumption and even more so for the production there. This leads to voltage rises when there is a lot of solar production, the effect of this is that the solar production in the street has to be curtailed. The battery has shown to be able to reduce the voltage at times of production by charging with the solar energy produced in the neighbourhood.
The battery algorithm can still be optimised further since at the moment the combination of control and prediction can lead to the battery being charged too soon during the day. This means that at this point the battery has to stop charging and the voltage in the street rises again.
The V2G control has shown to be able to also charge with excess solar energy of the neighbourhood. Here however again comfort has to be taken into account. Thus a certain charge will always be provided to ensure that the car is usable by the residents.
In the V2G control also a few challenges have popped up regarding communication between car and charger. If the setpoint is 0A for more than an hour communication will be stopped. Next to that also sudden interruptions to the communication can occur. The first issue can be resolved by setting small charging currents once an hour. The second issue requires further investigation.
We are now in the last phase of the project. For the Oud-Heverlee demo site specifically, this means that we are now focused on keeping the assets up and running while gathering as much data as possible related to our KPIs in preparation for the final report where we will try to gather as many lessons learned from the demo site as an assessment of the benefit of this project for the neighbourhood.