Argonne’s New Smart Energy Plaza demonstrates adaptive reuse at its best
Once upon a time, Argonne had its very own gas station, which contractors operated at the corner of Meridian Road and Outer Circle Drive. As the station aged and required costly infrastructure updates, it became more cost-effective to close the facility.
Now that electric vehicles (EVs) are everywhere at the laboratory and Argonne’s EV-Smart Grid Interoperability Center is advancing its mission to demonstrate new EV charging and electric grid technologies, the former gas station site is set to become Argonne’s all-new Smart Energy Plaza.
The new facility will enable realistic smart grid studies that combine the Energy Systems Division’s capabilities in grid modeling and simulation with Argonne-developed sensing, communication and control technologies. It will integrate solar power and battery storage with smart charging and controllable building systems to minimize total energy use and operate as an isolated micro-grid if needed. The Smart Energy Plaza will also support additional standard AC charging locations for Argonne employees, but it is primarily a development, testing and demonstration center for grid integration studies that include soon-to-be-introduced high-power DC and wireless charging in cooperation with the auto industry and charging equipment suppliers.
After construction concludes this winter, a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony with representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and the Interoperability Center’s global automotive industry partners will follow in late spring of 2017.
Photo (top): The Smart Energy Plaza will support standard AC charging locations for Argonne employees.
Suzanne Williams (CEPA)