Smart Grid Project Wins GE Grant

Photo by: Charles Sykes/NBC NewsWire, courtesy of GE
Columbia Engineering’s Roger Anderson and his Smart Grid team at the Center for Computational Learning Systems is the only university to win one of 12 awards in General Electric’s global “Ecomagination Innovation Challenge” for their plan to optimize the recharging of Manhattan’s first fleet of electric delivery vehicles (EDVs) that FedEx Express will deploy in the city in 2011.
This announcement – made this morning by GE CEO Jeff Immelt (see photo at right) – kickstarts a new collaboration with Columbia Engineering, GE, Con Edison, and FedEx Express to enable the conversion from hydrocarbon to electric delivery vehicles in New York City. Columbia’s technology will manage load and delivery, and will link electrical vehicle charging station data to Con Edison’s electric distribution management system in real time. In addition to providing research funding of $1.1 million over the next three years , GE will supply expertise from its Digital Energy division and its Global Research Center to support this program. 
The team at Columbia Engineering is building a consumer version of its patented Adaptive Stochastic Controller to “learn” the energy demands of each truck and coordinate its recharging with Con Edison to make sure the EDVs deliver “on time, every time” at the lowest possible cost while fitting smoothly into Manhattan’s electric-distribution grid. The controller will send commands, such as when to optimally start and stop the charging of both the EDVs and the recharge stations at the delivery depot. The stations will also record and transmit updated information to our complementary Columbia Engineering controller at Con Edison’s Manhattan Electric Control Center to ensure proper grid integration.
The Columbia Engineering controller will be able to respond to electric-load-management directives from Con Edison to decrease or increase the current draw from the on-board vehicle inverters and batteries to assure both the stability of the electric grid in the area and the recharge capability of the FedEx Express EDVs. 
“This is a great win for New York City,” said Anderson, Con Edison Senior Scholar at the Center for Computational Learning Systems at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, Columbia University. “It promises a quieter, safer, and more healthy environment for all of us who live and work here.”
Columbia Engineering’s Center for Computational Learning Systems is a seven-and-a-half-year-old research center that employs 40 applied scientists, engineers, and graduate students (most from Computer Science) in the pursuit of breakthrough technologies not only in energy, but also in health sciences, natural language processing, and climate informatics. CCLS is led by David Waltz.
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