Nefusta: charging and refueling station of the future
Different partners (comprising of the Technical College of Arnhem & Nijmegen (HAN), Sweco, DEKRA, DNV GL and CGI) decided to collaborate in the development of a New Energy Vehicles Fueling Station (Nefusta). This environmentally friendly charging and refueling point has the possibility to store energy, is suitable for differing forms of future transport modes and different energy carriers and is capable of supporting the grid. The coming two years the team will be researching which of the varying scenarios provide the best opportunities.
The effects of climate-change are becoming increasingly visible. The energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is unavoidable in making the step towards a CO2-neutral society. This transition will largely be driven by fast growing technological developments and possibilities. In many instances, these innovations are encouraged by governments due to socio-economic interests. Topsector Energie is an example of an organization that stimulates companies and educational institutions, by connecting and supporting developments and the application thereof for a quicker transition to sustainable, reliable and economical energy systems within infrastructural environments. Topsector Energie thereby reinforces the international competitiveness of these companies and the knowledge base of the participating research establishments.
Also in sectors such as traffic and transportation, initiatives are being made. Transport systems are becoming smarter and increasingly sustainable in which the electric car is the prime example. The Netherlands has around seventy thousand charging points for electric cars in hundreds of local authorities. Another example is autonomous vehicles. These can contribute towards the effective use of infrastructure put in place for providing energy for these vehicles. In this way the situation can be avoided in which expensive charging points are kept in use but are underutilized. According to the American research organization IHS, in around 2035 there will be world-wide 54 million autonomous vehicles on the road. Freight transport are currently engaged in researching the use of sustainable energy carriers such as biofuels.
The Nefusta Concept
Simultaneously with the development of these new energy vehicles is the requirement for new refueling and charging facilities. What these will look like is not yet known. The collaborative parties which constitute Nefusta (new energy vehicles fueling station) is confronting this question. The Nefusta team is engaged in the development of a flexible charging and refueling station of the future. That is to say that energy supply is suitable for all forms of road transport, such as buses and lorries and hybrid forms of transport – and for different energy carriers. So not only electrical current, but also for example hydrogen or other gasses (such as methane). The differing factor with this and the current charging stations, is that use of electricity via the charging and fueling point is not simultaneously connected when delivering energy to the vehicles. In future, the electricity can be stored by means of local batteries or to transform this energy into a gas form, such as hydrogen.
The development of a suchlike flexible charging and fueling station could materially accelerate the energy transition process. Due to its unique charging and fuel point capabilities in which energy can be stored and thereby the station’s energy use can be independent of energy deliverance to the road user, it is possible to build-up a buffer in order to accommodate peak energy requirements of the grid. At other moments, any overcapacity produced through solar and wind sources can be stored in batteries or transformed into other energy carriers. In this way, a flexible charging and fuel point can make a contribution to a stable and more flexible grid, which is the major challenge in the transition towards sustainable energy. Sustainability of energy, transport and of the infrastructural changes which the electricity market is demanding nicely converge in the Nefusta Project.
The Nefusta Project: Goal and Approach
The Nefusta Project commenced in March 2017 with the research of tangible possibilities in the realization of an environmentally friendly charging and fuel point. The partners look towards the different stakeholders and their vested interests, economical feasibility, legal constraints and safety. Following on from this is a path concerned with conceptual engineering, in which the team will design a model station together with a technical simulation model, an artist’s impression and the building of the station in scale model-form. The goal is within a period of two years to arrive at the three most sustainable and economically viable scenarios. In these scenarios the economies of scale of a charge and fuel point will be described together with the desired functionality and location. The location is partly dependent upon the amount of traffic it would need to cater for and the connection possibilities with the energy infrastructure. Ultimately it must be more beneficial to the road user: whom in a short period of time will require more infrastructure in order to utilize more energy carriers for his mobility requirements.
For the project, an advisory panel will be constituted, that will also suffice as a sounding board. In this advisory panel there will be energy suppliers, energy services suppliers for electric transport and TSOs/DSOs. Representatives from oil and gas companies will also be present.
The Nefusta Partners
The Nefusta Project is supported by Topsector Energie. The project partners together form a balanced team which due to their invaluable expertise can provide vital information for the research project. Each partner taking part in the research will also have a role by the realization of an environmentally friendly charging and fuel points. Furthermore, the partners will be working intensively on the component products in order to ensure a cohesive result is achieved.
The HAN is both commissioner and owner of the project, Sweco considers the legal and regulatory aspects with regards to the environment and location, DEKRA focuses of safety at both product and installation levels, DNV GL concentrate on the infrastructural and electrical issues including connectivity and CGI provides advice regarding the stakeholders’ analysis, business modelling and ICT (digital systems which take care of the supply and demand processes on behalf of the electricity supplier and that of the consumer).
For more information you can contact Aart-Jan de Graaf.