AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV) and the United States Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), managed by Battelle, today announced a commercial license agreement for a technology that supports widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) by helping to stabilize the electrical grid -- the network of electricity generation, transmission and distribution that powers the nation.
The technology may result in lower-cost electricity for plug-in vehicle drivers due to the grid support functions provided during vehicle charging. AeroVironment will use a portion of the licensed PNNL technology in a new prototype version of its industry-leading Level II charging systems.
Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of its Efficient Energy Systems (EES) business segment, said, “We are working to broaden the adoption of plug-in vehicles to help achieve America’s environmental, economic and energy security goals. While easily and reliably recharging PEVs, this grid-friendly charging system will also improve grid performance, turning PEVs and their chargers into a valuable solution to a broader challenge.”
The licensed PNNL technology can help stabilize the electrical grid by continuously monitoring the grid’s alternating current (AC) frequency and varying the vehicle charging rate in response. Additionally, in the event of a rapid drop in grid frequency, the charging system stops charging, providing a grid “shock absorber.” Such rapid frequency drops, while small in overall magnitude, indicate that a fault condition has occurred somewhere on the grid and that there is an imbalance between load and electricity generation. By reducing load the system can be rebalanced.
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