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Charging stations interact with their environment in a swarm – the technology can also be used for heat pumps (

May 25, 2023

( Wallbox technology developed at the Institute of Electric Power Technology at Cologne University of Applied Sciences can independently analyze the state of the power grid and coordinate charging times with surrounding boxes. This process, patented by TH Köln in the US and patent pending in the EU, can also be used for other consumers such as heat pumps.

“We invented a decentralized solution to deal with the impending surge in electricity: smart charging stations that measure the state of the power grid in their area, communicate with other boxes and coordinate charging operations. Explains Eberhard Waffenschmidt, who developed the technology in collaboration with Ingo Stadler and the scientific staff at the Institute for Electric Power Technology at the University of Cologne For applied science, this leads to the creation of a “swarm network”.

hcustomary shipping box Add two ingredients
To do this, they want to add two components to a standard charging box: a measuring device that determines the status and current load of the area’s electric grid, and a communication unit that sends information to neighboring charging boxes over the power line. “If in the future several such boxes are installed in a neighborhood, they will form a network that ‘knows’ the state of the network until the next transformer station. If charging is needed, this is coordinated between the boxes using our algorithm. Because for most users, it doesn’t matter. Whether the electric vehicle is charging at 8 p.m. or at 3 a.m. at night, however, distributed charging means less stress on the grid,” says Waffenschmidt.

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Planned practice test
To date, the functionality of the system has been designed and tested on a test stand at the TH Laboratories Cologne. In a follow-up project, a real test should be carried out in collaboration with the network operator, and functional models close to production will be developed for the wall box. In addition, a module that can be connected to existing charging stations and then enable new functions is being considered as an addition. “It is important for us to enable all users to get started easily. Whether it’s a new charging box or an add-on – it should be possible to use intelligent network control without a complex installation,” says Waffenschmidt.

Text:, source: TH Cologne