CEM Engineers, Mike Lewis and Bob Hebner, published an article in the May 2020 special issue of the IEEE Smart Grid eNewsletter entitled, “Pandemic Implications on Power Systems”. The UT article focused on powering critical loads during emergencies using transit buses. Recently, Mike completed a project for the US Department of Transportation (USDOT), in partnership with the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) and Hagerty Consulting, which explored the application and demonstrated the capability.
The bottom line of the article was, “In the longer term, engineers are developing a smarter grid, smarter backup power, smarter vehicles that can provide power to the grid or, if the grid is down, directly to key loads, and smarter buildings. As these systems begin to better communicate with each other, the world should be even better prepared to provide reliable power in future pandemics than it is today.”
Figure 1: Notional concept of bus powering key parts of a hospital.
Image: Provided by Hagerty Consulting.
Today, the US has static back-up generators available during emergencies. A shift to transit buses is particularly attractive because they can be driven to where they are needed. Modern electric buses produce about 200 kW of power, which is not sufficient to fully power a large urban hospital, but paralleling buses combined with demand management approaches could provide sufficient ride through capabilities until a permanent solution is possible. The USDOT study predicted that for outages shorter than a week, the transit bus was less costly than additional back-up power rental or ownership.
- Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE): What is BEPS?
- Read the FTA’s BEPS report.
- Read the Hagerty Consulting blog.
- If you have access, read the IEEE SmartGrid newsletter.
- Read the Wired article, featuring CEM’s Dr. Hebner, as he discusses power plants and their ability to deliver energy during a pandemic.
CEM Point of Contact:
Michael C. Lewis