3 September 2018

Marte Gerritsma awarded €5000 Hofvijverkring Fellowship

Elektrische auto's bij oplaadpunt

Marte Gerritsma, PhD Candidate in the Energy & Resources section of the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development has been awarded a €5000 Hofvijverkring Fellowship. Marte will use the grant for fieldwork on the West Coast of Canada and the United States to support her research on smart solar charging of electric vehicles.

In uncontrolled charging, electric vehicles begin charging immediately after plugged into the charging station. They continue to charge until the battery is full. This causes high peaks in electricity demand, often coinciding with household peak demand. To avoid high peak electricity demands, the charging can be rescheduled while the car is connected to the charging station. This rescheduling is called smart charging.

Why should vehicle charging be smart?

Smart charging can avoid peaks in electricity demand, but can also serve other goals. For example, it opens up opportunities for lining up with fluctuations in renewable energy production. This is quickly becoming more important due to the increasing amount of power generated by solar and wind. Unlike power generation from coal and gas, power from wind and solar is not flexible, and therefore the demand has to adapt to the generation.

Maximizing local usage of renewable energy

Scheduling the charging of vehicles based on the local renewable electricity production could maximize the local usage of renewable energy. This is what we call smart solar charging. If batteries found in cars were capable of reinjecting power into the grid as well, a technology referred to as vehicle-to-grid, the renewable energy stored in the batteries could not only be used for driving, but also to meet residential demand. That way, even more renewable energy could be used locally.

About Marte

Marte completed the MSc Energy Science at Utrecht University. She is currently doing a PhD on smart solar charging of electric vehicles at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. Marte is supervised by solar energy expert Wilfried van Sark.

I was very surprised when I heard that I was awarded the grant as I didn’t know my name had been considered. Demand flexibility is a hot topic at the moment. I am happy with the opportunity to go abroad and explore the oversea experiences concerning smart charging

The Hofvijverkring Fellowship

Part of the Utrecht University Fund, the Hofvijverkring is a "giving circle" that has founded the Hofvijverkring Fellowship. It was set up by alumni from the The Hague area in order to provide financial contributions to scientific research and education across Utrecht University. They wanted to make a donation in the field of sustainability research and have chosen Marte’s work. She will use the grant for visiting the West Coast of Canada and the US.