In an effort to meet its 2028 carbon neutral goals, Nottingham County Council has announced the development of an interoperable energy management system (iEMS). Quadrant Smart sits down with Steve Cornes, principal energy projects officer, to discuss what the project means, how it can maximise renewable energy use in its vehicle fleet, and what the future of sustainability in Nottingham looks like.
The Clean Mobil Energy project involves the use of 40 electric vehicles, solar power systems, and a lithium-ion battery. The three-year project is held at the Eastcroft depot in Nottingham.
The iEMS uses internet of things (IoT) solutions to help manage the multiple systems into a single, more manageable system.
Internet of things unlocks renewable potential
Steve told Quadrant Smart: “It is really exciting. IoT when this started was a relatively new thing, but in recent years it has really taken off. If you didn’t have the ability to concentrate all this data into a central point it would be a nightmare to integrate. The great thing about IoT is it puts all the information in one place and makes it accessible from one point.”
The great thing about IoT is it puts all the information in one place and makes it accessible from one point
40 V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) bi-directional units are used to enable the vehicles to be used for energy storage and grid balancing. This allows for a maximised self-sufficiency of power.
Steve, who uses solar power at his own home, explained how this is already working on a domestic level and this project is a scaled version of his home.
He said: “I’m reasonably self-sufficient for power, if we could expand this it would be positive. If I had an electric car I would just need a bigger battery in my house. In the summer it would be full all the time.”
On a larger scale, the power would be circulating the site. Any surplus amounts can be sold onto the grid to generate income for the city. These energy range figures can be placed into AI controlled algorithms. This will allow the project to find the most efficient and effective way of using power.
Expansion is the only way forward
Looking ahead to the future, Steve explained how they could expand this project if it is successful. He told Quadrant Smart: “We are hoping that the trial goes well so we can, for example, pull the hospital into the same open source software system. You can use the IoT to prioritise energy to certain areas. Rather than sending all the power to resistors which transfer the energy into heat, (which occurs in other areas, such as the London Underground) we can use it effectively.”
The best outcome is we manage to manipulate generation and storage so that we are totally peak covered
Steve finished by stating: “Success is not needing to draw power at any peak. The best outcome is we manage to manipulate generation and storage so that we are totally peak covered.”
In terms of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2028, Nottingham has set itself an ambitious target. However, the development of the iEMS is set to boost the progress the city is making in achieving their goals.