Jan 16, 2014

Wireless charging the new trend for electric vehicles

6 min
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The concussion from the artillery round knocked him to the ground and into a haze of dust, distress, and chaos. With his head ringing and shrapnel poking out of his arm, U.S. Army Capt. Jeremy McCool felt around for his fellow soldiers and carried them to safety into the makeshift command station set in the middle of an Iraqi village.

The villagers - mothers, sisters, and wives - had ventured out in daylight to the U.S. command station that afternoon, an act of extreme danger and courage, to identify three detained insurgents who were known to have killed the male members of this family.

When the women approached the U.S. Command station, McCool, an interpreter, and another officer walked out to greet them. Seconds later the bomb exploded. Everyone was injured, but everyone was also, alive. The women, after being treated by medics, positively identified the insurgents, who were eventually sentenced to death by an Iraqi judge; but the war and the killing continued.

For McCool, a handsome, strapping young man who had played collegiate football in Oklahoma, who had three brothers in the military stationed around the globe, and whose family history of military service traces back to the Revolutionary War, this close call changed him in more ways than the physical damage to his arm and inner ear.

“The idea for wireless charging of electric vehicles started as a promise I made in Baghdad while I was an infantry platoon leader,” McCool says. “With too many close calls on my side, I made a decision to do anything in my power that I could to reduce our reliance on foreign fuels as a method of obtaining energy security in the United States.”

The HEVO Concept

McCool safely returned to the United States, exited out of the military as a captain, and then went to Columbia University for graduate studies in urban policy and sustainability; and that's where this whole idea of electric vehicle infrastructure began to emerge as his core thesis. HEVO (Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Optimization) Power launched in November 2011, while McCool finished his graduate degree.

Built on the vision of creating the global standard for wireless charging, the mission of HEVO is to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles through the deployment of their wireless charging network. By offering a wireless charging option for electric vehicles, HEVO will provide a safe, efficient, and affordable method of charging that eliminates the hazards and inconveniences associated with plug-in charging.

“I built a team around the concept that wireless charging was the technology that would accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and we started by focusing on fleets,” McCool says.

Companies like Frito-Lay, Fresh Direct, Walgreens/Duane Reade were already implementing electric vehicles into their fleets in New York City. “We began to interview those companies and meet with those end-users and tried to figure out how they were using vehicles and what could be done better. We walked away from every conversation with the realization that plug-in stations we're the tether to adoption of electric vehicles,” McCool says.

“These companies were excited about the possibilities of what wireless electric charging units could bring to the table because it would eliminate getting the plug-in and it would eliminate problems of backing into a plug-in station and damaging those stations,” McCool says “It would also help them to mitigate problems with the plug in stations, which were linked to damaging their fleet vehicles.”

How HEVO Works

The concept of wireless charging is about having a coil at a charging station that's connected to grid power. The HEVO charging stations have a coil inside a disk that resembles a manhole cover in the pavement – shaped like that so it fits seamlessly into the existing infrastructure – and that coil resonates when power is applied to it.

The charging disk sends out energy to other coils that are within its vicinity and through that process a handshake is formed and they begin to resonate. The receiving coil, which is attached to the bottom of the electric vehicle, charges the battery as the vehicle is parked above the disk.

“It's simple technology. Wireless charging has been around more than 100 years; Nikola Tesla was the pioneer of the technology,” McCool says. “Wireless charging has been used in transformer technology and even in electric toothbrushes.”

The roll out strategy is to start with loading bays of warehouses, which are the home bases for these delivery fleets that are deploying electric vehicles. The wireless charging spaces would have these charging disks embedded into them and the vehicles would charge overnight. The drivers would then be able to drive away without having to unplug or do anything else.

“What we have is absolutely in tune with what fleet operators are demanding,” McCool says. “We have fixed commitments for our pilot [program] to begin in the second and third quarters of 2014 with multiple well known fleets – such as PepsiCo, City Harvest, Duane Reade/Walgreens.”

Smart Technology

The charging station will also provide the users with key characteristic data. As each charging incident begins, HEVO will be able to show the parametrics for every single one of those charging incidents to the fleet operators and then compile that information into easily adaptable data.

“We give them piece of mind of knowing that we are monitoring each charging incident at thousands and millions of data points to ensure that it is operating within the correct threshold,” McCool says. “We can provide important information such as how much money they save in terms of their fleet costs and fuel savings; how much carbon and CO2 emissions have been abated.”

All these fleet diagnostics and fleet operating pieces of software are vital to the acceleration of the adoption of the HEVO technology. Fleet operators will be able to relay details to management on how electric vehicles are affecting the day-to-day operations of the company.

Phone App

There would be a portal of information available through the app to the driver so they can see the battery's charge, how many miles they can travel on that charge, and where the nearest charging station is located. They would have the opportunity for wireless bill pay and other key pieces of commerce

“We are focused in making sure we are getting the data the operators are saying they need,” McCool says. “That app is the one piece that ties together the entire ecosystem. For a fleet driver, that app is their connection to HEVO and so that's a critical piece of technology for us.”

Core Values

“During the surge we did our best to create some level of normalcy for the Iraqi citizens,” McCool says. “On the home front my mom was an inspiration as she had four of us in the military at the same time; it was harder for her and the family than for us.”

And that's why McCool wants HEVO and its patrons to lead the transportation evolution that will help achieve energy independence while protecting the environment and security interests of future generations. Then, maybe a level of normalcy will return for us all. 

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Apr 23, 2021

Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Drax is advancing biomass following Pinnacle acquisition it reported in a trading update

Drax' recently completed acquisition of Pinnacle more than doubles its sustainable biomass production capacity and significantly reduces its cost of production, it reported in a trading update.

The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.

The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).

Drax CEO Will Gardiner said its Q1 performance had been "robust", supported by the sale of Drax Generation Enterprise, which holds four CCGT power stations, to VPI Generation.

This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.

In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.

The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.

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