GOLDEN, Colo. -- Power management company Eaton announced a $4.9 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to reduce the cost and complexity of deploying direct-current (DC) fast electric vehicle charging infrastructure (EVCI). Under the three-year program, Eaton will develop and demonstrate a novel, compact and turnkey solution for DC fast-charging infrastructure that is anticipated to reduce costs by 65% through improvements in power conversion and grid interconnection technology, charger integration and modularity, and installation time.
Ready access to low-cost, fast charging infrastructure is essential for fleet electrification and broader electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Yet, current charging technology can be prohibitively expensive to deploy on a large scale. Eaton and its project partners aim to accelerate fleet electrification by providing a compact, cost-efficient and fully integrated solution that is factory optimized for local grid interconnection and immediate use.
“Mass EV adoption requires a much simpler approach to charging infrastructure that doesn’t have a big impact on local power systems,” said Chris Butler, president for Critical Power and Digital Infrastructure at Eaton. “We’re leveraging long-standing expertise, research and partnerships to fast-track the electrification of transport by reducing the steps required to connect charging systems directly to the utility distribution system.”
To support this innovative EVCI solution, Eaton will develop a unique solid-state transformer design and modular chargers packaged on a compact skid—expediting installation, reducing required equipment and minimizing deployment cost and footprint. The Eaton solid-state transformer technology will enable direct connection to the utility medium-voltage distribution system to eliminate the need for additional power conversion devices and associated commissioning. With integrated energy management and charge control software, the EVCI solution will also help avoid peak energy costs by accurately forecasting and managing electrical demand.
As part of the award, Eaton is leading the project with partners including the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), North Carolina State University (NCSU), University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), ITC Holdings, and CALSTART. The project leverages Eaton’s previous DOE-funded research on solid-state transformers, solar-plus-storage and DC systems.
“One of the biggest challenges to the buildout of complete EV charging infrastructure is coordinating with stakeholders,” explained Eaton’s Vijay Bhavaraju, who is leading the project as principal investigator and system architect. “In addition to leveraging the expertise of our project partners, we’re actively engaging with community, business and government leaders to help ensure everyone is able to experience the long-term benefits of electrifying transport.”
Eaton, NCSU and Pitt are collaborating on the technical development of the solid-state transformer. NREL will provide an initial demonstration site to validate the technology using its Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) platform. ITC Holdings will provide a demonstration site for fleet charging, and CALSTART will support community engagement while providing independent validation of cost and performance improvements.
Eaton also received a $2.4 million award from the DOE to develop new technologies to reduce emissions from agricultural equipment. With the award, Eaton’s Vehicle Group will develop technologies that will simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) by 10% and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 90 percent for agricultural powertrains over multiple-duty cycles.
Eaton’s electrical business is a global leader with deep regional application expertise in power distribution and circuit protection; power quality, backup power and energy storage; control and automation; life safety and security; structural solutions; and harsh and hazardous environment solutions. Through end-to-end services, channel and an integrated digital platform and insights, Eaton is powering what matters across industries and around the world, helping customers solve their most critical electrical power management challenges.
Eaton’s mission is to improve the quality of life and the environment through the use of power management technologies and services. Eaton provides sustainable solutions that help its customers effectively manage electrical and mechanical power – more safely, more efficiently, and more reliably. Eaton’s 2020 revenues were $17.9 billion, and the company sells products to customers in more than 175 countries. Eaton has approximately 85,000 employees.
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