Navigating grid limitations in EV charging through energy management solutions

As Sligro Food Group accelerates its transition to electric mobility, one of the key challenges they face is navigating grid limitations while ensuring seamless operations. In our previous blog post, we explored how innovative charging solutions enabled Sligro to power 26 electric trucks with only 18 outlets, showcasing their commitment to efficiency and sustainability.  

Furthermore, we explore Sligro’s leading approach to addressing grid constraints, dynamic load management, and paving the way for even greater advancements in sustainable transportation.

The challenge: Grid constraints

In The Netherlands, particularly the Amsterdam region, they face significant grid constraints, a challenge also encountered by Sligro as they embarked on electrifying their trucks. With grid expansion not feasible for the next coming years, they must work within existing capacity limitations. Additionally, energy consumption on-site extends beyond charging vehicles with Sligro maintaining a cooled warehouse to store their goods. In winter, demand for power is low, but as midsummer approaches, the requirement to sustain -25°C in the warehouse stretches the available power resources. The cooling system alone consumes over 80% of the grid capacity. Additionally, the freezer operates overnight, whilst the trucks power for overnight charging at the same time.

The solution: Dynamic load management for EV charging

With Heliox and Recoy’s expertise, Sligro identified a solution to this challenge. The cooled warehouse demands the most power at night, so Sligro started charging the trucks when they just returned from the daily tour. When the first truck comes back in the afternoon, it is immediately plugged in to  an outlet. At these times of the day, grid capacity is ample and dynamic load management enables rapid and complete charging before the night. Mark Stabel states, “When the first truck arrives, they charge at 150 kW. When there are two, both trucks charge at 150 kW. When there are three, the load is split.”

During nighttime, particularly in the summer when available power for charging is limited, trucks charge at a reduced rate. To prevent exceeding the grid limit, the grid capacity is monitored every minute. This involves recalculating the power available for charging and adjusting the allocated power accordingly, ensuring that the grid capacity used for truck charging is appropriately managed.

We need dynamic load management to charge the trucks. Mark Stabel, Sligro

Exploring sustainable power solutions for the growing fleet

In a matter of weeks, Sligro's fleet is set to double from 26 to 50 trucks, with further plans to expand to 100 even more trucks at their Amsterdam’s site in the future.

The trucks are available. The load management is available. But grid capacity in the Netherlands is  a big concern. Mark Stabel, Sligro

Anticipating the rising energy demand during nighttime operations, they are investigating the feasibility of solar panels. However, recognizing that solar energy isn't available at night, when demand peaks, Sligro acknowledges the necessity of battery storage and is taking this into consideration for future planning.

Charting fresh roads for a sustainable future

By closely monitoring energy consumption, strategically scheduling charging and implementing dynamic load management, Sligro has successfully mitigated grid limitations without compromising on operational efficiency or customer satisfaction. In essence, their journey serves as a beacon of inspiration for businesses worldwide, demonstrating that with careful consideration and innovative thinking, grid constraints can be overcome, and sustainable operations can flourish. As Sligro continues to lead by example, it becomes evident that the path to a cleaner, greener future is paved with ingenuity, determination, and a willingness to embrace change.

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