Insurer a.s.r. recently opened the world’s largest, bidirectional charging car park for electric cars in Utrecht, which was opened by Utrecht mayor Sharon Dijksma and a.s.r. CEO Jos Baeten. This sustainable car park can simultaneously charge and discharge 250 electric cars. UT professor Johann Hurink’s Mathematics of Operations Research department is making an important contribution to the project.
The covered car park measures approximately 10,000 square metres and features a roof with more than 2,000 solar panels, producing enough energy to power a total of four million kilometres a year. The car park’s 250 smart bidirectional charging stations can be used to both charge and discharge electric vehicles, and there are batteries to store the power being generated.
Mayor Sharon Dijksma: ‘Together with many partners, we are developing a bidirectional ecosystem in the Utrecht region. This electric car park at a.s.r. constitutes an important contribution to these efforts. With this progressive course on sustainable mobility, we are setting an example for the rest of the Netherlands, and the rest of the world.’
The a.s.r. charging car park is one of the SmoothEMS with Gridshield project’s three test sites. As part of this project, the University of Twente is researching and testing technology that will accelerate the energy transition by making optimal use of the existing power grid. By combining demand management (SmoothEMS) with an extra safety net (Gridshield), more charging stations for electric cars and solar panels can be installed more quickly. At the same time, this approach also provides protection against cyberattacks and communication breakdowns. This is ideal for any building with a large number of users and a fluctuating energy demand and supply. Hurink’s department, which specialises in smart energy systems, is developing the project’s simulation environment (using the open-source tool DEMKit) while also conducting research for the Energy Management Systems (EMS).
The University of Twente campus also boasts its very own test site: the AmperaPark electric car park, near the Pavilion building. Like the a.s.r. test site, AmperaPark offers covered charging stations with a solar-panel roof. There are currently nine charging spots and a battery will soon be added. The provincial government building in Zwolle is home to the project’s third test site.
Find out more about SmoothEMS with Gridshield here.