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Electric LOsses Balancing through integrated STorage and power Electronics towards increased synergy between Railways and electricity distribution networks

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - E-LOBSTER (Electric LOsses Balancing through integrated STorage and power Electronics towards increased synergy between Railways and electricity distribution networks)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2020-10-31

The main objective of the E-LOBSTER project is to develop and demonstrate up to TRL 6 in relevant environment (a real underground railway in Madrid connected to a local power distribution network with a high penetration of RES) an innovative, economically viable and easily replicable Electric Transport-Grid Inter-Connection System that properly managed is able to establish mutual synergies between power distribution networks (DN), electrified urban transport networks (metro, trams, light railways etc.) and charging stations for electric vehicles.
In particular, E-LOBSTER is demonstrating tools and technologies, software and hardware to assess the source of losses of both the networks prioritising techniques for their minimisation via a coordinated control of the power supply for electrified transport and recharge stations for EVs and towards the maximisation of the local consumption of RES production thanks to the use of Energy Storage System (EES) and advanced power electronics devices.
Actually, European distribution networks and light-railway networks present common issues: they have been developed as independent networks, relying on the resilience and robustness of existing power supplies. However, RES progressive penetration introduced an increasing degree of uncertainty on the direction of power flows. In this context, both networks are looking at integrated solutions targeting the reduction of electricity losses, the increase of the grid stability in a high local RES penetration scenario and the meeting of the needs of new energy actors such as EVs, electrical storages and prosumers.
Electrified transport networks could act to enhance distribution grid stability providing ancillary services inter-exchanging electricity. However, such potential is still unexploited. E-LOBSTER intends to capture such potential through the development of innovative solutions.
The proposed solution encompasses the integration of high power flow Electric Storage with smart Soft Open Points (sSOP) providing flexible control. The system is managed by an integrated Railway to Grid Management System which starting from the analysis of energy losses is able to optimize the interexchange of electricity between the networks maximizing the consumption of local RES production.
The main objectives of the project are:
• To develop an innovative unique tool for the assessment of losses and energy consumption of power DN and railway electrification network validated through real data
• To develop advanced power electronics that will allow a unique management of the energy between traction substations and DN
• To develop and validate the new real-time optimized Railway to Grid energy management system
• To identify and validate the most suitable storage technologies for the mutual synergy interconnection of the 2 networks increasing the penetration of RES and promoting EVs solutions
• To demonstrate E-LOBSTER innovative solutions and technologies in real conditions in the Metro of Madrid
During the first 29 months of the project, the work has been focused at the beginning on the identification of the most suitable technologies and the main specifications for electricity losses reduction in Distribution Networks and Electrified Railway Systems. Then, the focus was moved on the definition of a preliminary architecture and possible distribution and Rail networks interconnection arrangements. In particular, 3 potential configurations were defined as well as the overall system requirements.
Special attention was then paid to definition of the sSOP specifications and to the identification, design and development of the most suitable Electrical Storage (ESS) for the mutual benefit interexchange of electricity. The sSOP and the ESS are the 2 main shared assets among the power distribution network and the railway network proposed by E-LOBSTER and at months 29 both prototypes were developed.
In parallel, an accurate analysis of the energy losses within the traction chain and the power distribution grid and the identification of measures for energy losses prevention were performed through specific simulation activities. Then, part of the work was devoted to the design and development of an advanced simulator for rail electrification systems fully integrated with the power distribution system via a SOP and a DC bus connection.
Among the main achievement at this stage, it is worth to mention the definition of the architecture of R+G system and the development of its first release to be to be validated in the Smart Grid Laboratory of University of Newcastle.
Concerning the transversal activities, an accurate assessment of the relevant technical standards was carried out as well as a deep analysis of the regulatory and policy framework.
Special attention was paid on the dissemination and communication activities for raising the awareness on the project solutions. Two workshops with the two stakeholder groups were organized: the first one related to Public Transport Operators whereas the second one involving DSOs/technology providers.
While energy storage for power distribution systems and railways has been widely explored in the last decade, there is knowledge gap to understand a comprehensive rail-to-grid with storage power supply, especially in terms of interactions between the individual energy networks.
In this context, the E-LOBSTER provides a unique platform for the energy flow management between rail, grid and storage aiming at a multi-objective optimization of the three energy networks. This will lead to a substantial reduction of power losses and improved power quality.
The technologies proposed by E-LOBSTER can act as an “enabler” for the transformation of power distribution grid by incorporating grid elements of smart functionality to balance supply and demand exploiting the synergies offered by electric transport, together with information and communication technologies to increase flexibility (distribution grid would be able to better exploit local RES and to reduce its unbalances supplying or getting power from transport network), improve reliability and efficiency and support the integration of renewables.
The E-LOBSTER project is relevant with respect to recent EU directives and Energy targets:
• promote the penetration of RES in the future EU market
• increasing energy systems efficiency
• limiting transport emissions promoting electrified urban transport and electromobility
• empowerment of the role of the consumers in the electrical market
• increasing of the resiliency of EU Distribution Networks increasing their stability and reducing losses
In particular, E-LOBSTER will have the following main impacts:
• reduction of energy losses both at Distribution Network level and at Railway Electricity level through a proper R+G management system
• support in ongoing policy developments in the field of the design of the internal electricity market, also supporting energy efficiencies policies in electrified transports and demonstrating new schemes for their “local smart” contribution to the DN management
• demonstration of stable and secure operation of smart grids integrating variable energy sources.
• renovation and installation of new “Smart Light Railway Network” to be implement on light-railways installation that are already planned or in construction all over EU
• enlargement of RES hosting capacity particularly at urban and railway station level