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Journal Paper Accepted: Symmetrica: Test Case for Tansportation Electrification Research

by Thomas van der Wardt

The LIINES is happy to announce that our recent paper entitled: “Symmetrica: Test Case for Tansportation Electrification Research” has been published in the journal Infrastructure Complexity. Written by Prof. Amro M. Farid, this paper presents a test case for electric vehicle integration studies.

Electrified transportation has emerged in recent years as a means to reduce CO2 emissions and support energy efficiency. For this trend to succeed in the long term, electric vehicles must be integrated into the infrastructure systems that support them. Electric vehicles couple two such large systems; the transportation system and the electric power system into a nexus.

Electric vehicle integration, much like solar PV and wind integration years ago, has been fairly confined to small fleets of tens of vehicles. Such small pilot projects do not present a significant technical challenge. Their large scale adoption, however, must be carefully studied to avoid degrading overall infrastructure performance. Transportation electrification test cases serve to study infrastructure behavior well before reaching a full deployment of electric vehicles. Such a test case would resemble those often used in power systems engineering to serve methodological development in the design, planning, and operation of such systems.

The arguments for a test case to study the transportation electricity nexus are five-fold. First, a standardized test case is required to test, and compare analytical methods. In power systems, test cases served an essential role in the maturation of power flow analysis, stability studies, and contingency analysis. The transportation-electricity nexus will ultimately also require similar assessments. Secondly, using real data from critical infrastructure may be imprudent. For example, real data may reveal weak points in a power system which may be exploited by unauthorized personnel. Thirdly, a test case serves to support fundamental understanding by broadening intuition development. For the transportation-electricity nexus, understanding the effect of increasingly interdependent dynamics, will result in new requirements for optimization and control for its planning and operation. Naturally, this new found intuition serves the fourth reason of methodological development. A test case serves facilitates the design, planning, and operation of the system before it is built. Unexpected behaviors may be identified in an early stage and can subsequently be avoided or mitigated. Finally, the privacy of personal data is protected through using a test case. Transportation simulation requires microscopic data (tracking each vehicle through a full day’s events), which raises grave privacy and ethical concerns if real data is used.

To address these needs, the proposed test case includes three structural descriptions: a transportation system topology, an electric power topology, and a charging system topology. Additional data includes transportation demand and charging demand. The test case consists of a number of desirable characteristics, including completeness, functional heterogeneity, moderate size, regular topology, regular demand data, realism, and objectivity. The figure below shows the three topologies; a fully detailed description test casenamed ‘Symmetrica’ is available in the paper.


The transportation electrification test case can potentially be used for research within planning and operation management applications. A recent study (Al Junaibi et al. 2013) showed that the planning of the charging system as the couple of two infrastructure systems highly impacts the overall performance of the transportation electrification nexus. Matching the spatial layout of charging infrastructure to the demand for electrified transportation is key a infrastructure developent challenge. Furthermore, investment costs to upgrade power lines and transformers must be matched to the expected adoption of electric vehicles, providing an interesting starting point for return-on-investment and operations research methods. Using operation management applications such as charging station queue management or vehicle-2-grid stabilization could optimize the integration of electric vehicles within the nexus. Opportunities such as these present rich applications areas which have the potential to significant reduce the extra expenditure in infrastructure investments.

In depth materials on LIINES electrified transportation systems research can be found on the LIINES websitte.


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1 Comment

  1. Hi, thank you for this post I agree with you that Electrified transportation has emerged in recent years as a means to reduce CO2 emissions and support energy efficiency. very useful information

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