The Kontou Research Group is collaborating with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), UT Austin, the Southwest Research Institute, Quetica, American Bureau of Shipping, and Parallel Systems on a 2.2-million project funded by ARPA-E on Intermodal Freight Optimization for a Resilient Mobility Energy System (INFORMES)! Our team will develop a national-level intermodal freight modeling framework for infrastructure planning and logistics operations that would provide insights to decision-makers redesigning the national freight infrastructure and intermodal logistics system to meet net-zero targets by 2050. We will also develop and integrate models to identify and quantify the most cost-effective low-carbon infrastructure deployment strategies and robust optimal operations for intermodal logistics over the national freight transportation network. Press release by ARPA-E can be found here: https://arpa-e.energy.gov/news-and-media/press-releases/us-department-energy-announces-9-million-projects-modeling-optimal.
📣 Multi-unit dwelling (MUD) electric vehicle charger access is a major step toward ubiquitous home charging 🏙 🚘 🔌 ⚡ ! In our new Transportation Research Part D paper, led by my PhD student Ruolin Zhang, we propose effective MUD community charging sessions management, determine the hub’s performance, and perform a technoeconomic assessment to estimate the levelized cost of charging. We showcase performance and cost trade-offs for MUD charging hubs in Chicago, IL, New York City, NY, and Los Angeles, CA, and assess the impact of alternative business models. We were very fortunate to collaborate with Yan (Joann) Zhou and Noah Horesh from Argonne National Lab for this Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Office funded work! Find our open access paper here.
We are also excited to present the 2nd paper from our Department of Energy funded project on multi-unit dwelling electric vehicle charging! In this work, published in the Environmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability journal, we synthesize data from the National Household Travel Survey and the American Housing Survey and employ a cost-minimizing charging scheme to estimate electric vehicle charging demand 🔌 🔋 🚙 ⚡ in multi-unit dwellings across US Census Divisions! Please check out our research outcomes here!
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) 2023 Regional Meeting and Symposium focusing on the Mobility Electrification Revolution took place on April 4-5th at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign! Dr. Kontou discussed the grand engineering challenge of transport decarbonization! NAE’s overview of the transport electrification insights can be found here: https://www.nae.edu/294393/2023-NAE-Regional-Meeting-Focuses-on-the-Future-of-Travel- The first symposium day is available here (Kontou’s presentation at 3:39:42):
Thank you Office of Naval Research for funding our Adaptive Transportation Management of Naval Logistics for Distributed Energy Supply (ATM-LOG) project. More information on our scope can be found here: https://cee.illinois.edu/news/kontou-energy-supply-issues-deployed-vehicles-contested-environments.
Dr. Kontou discussed with Ari Daniel at WBUR’s Here and Now about electric vehicles and the challenges of dependence on solar power: https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2021/09/22/electric-cars-sun-power.
Dr. Kontou commented on the need for smart charging management and equitable access to recharging infrastructure in a WIRED article on the Biden’s administration’s plan to increase the number of electric cars on the road. Please find the article here: https://www.wired.com/story/biden-wants-more-evs-charging-stations/.
Dr. Kontou is presenting Shuocheng Guo’s and her research on their empirical analyses that uncovered disparities in California electric vehicle rebates allocation, during the 2021 WSTLUR conference. Her presentation is on August 11th 4-4:45pm central. A 5- minute video on her research is available. The paper was published in Energy Policy earlier in 2021 and is openly accessible here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112291.
Excited to announce that our research group received funding ($238,415) by the Illinois Department of Transportation to conduct research on our state’s EV charging infrastructure deployment needs. Our research will identify the electrification pathways to meet 2035 greenhouse gas reduction goals for Illinois, and have a detailed plan in place for vehicle electrification charging requirements. The optimal charging infrastructure investment allocation and placement in the Illinois highway network will be presented. Our work will provide Illinois Department of Transportation with a model and report that will enable quantification of the number and the highway location of electric vehicles charging stations deployed to meet the 2035 EV travel demand. The report will quantify electrified miles traveled, environmental externalities (carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions) reduction benefits, as well as the capital and operational costs of deployment of the recommended level and numbers of charging. More info here: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/65679#tabs-2.
This year our group mentored two undergraduate researchers who conducted sustainable transport research. Tinghan (Joe) Ye from the department of civil and environmental engineering presented his work during the Undergraduate Research Week on residential electric vehicle charging data analytics and Simon Balisi from the department of industrial engineering modeled chargers deployment for electric vehicle evacuations. Simon was advised by PhD student Denissa Purba through the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship program of UIUC and Joe was advised by Prof. Kontou and received a research support grant.
A team of Kontou research group graduate students, Shanshan (Shirley) Liu (team leader) and Xi Cheng, won the Vehicle-to-Grid University Challenge, run by Pecan Street. Congrats! This competition served as a great opportunity for our graduate students to use empirical data and deploy their state-of-the-art mathematical models to solve the problem of battery electric vehicle-to-grid services management. Their recognition exemplifies the broader impacts of our research that can provide answers to real-world industry challenges.
The department of Civil and Environmental Engineering covered their win here: https://cee.illinois.edu/news/cee-graduate-students-win-vehicle-to-grid-university-challenge. More info provided by Pecan Street on their solution here: https://www.pecanstreet.org/2021/04/v2gwinner/