Interview with Peter Sykes of Rectifier Technologies

Interview with Peter Sykes of Rectifier Technologies

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Gidday. I'm Glen Morris from the Smart Energy Lab. And today in the lab, I've got Peter Sykes from Rectifier Technologies. Hey, Peter. Good to see you. Hi, Glen. Thanks for having me. It's great to be at Smart Energy Lab again.

How was that drive up the hill in your EV? After I had the heads up about people getting here with not much battery charge left, I made sure that I had plenty. And so it was really beautiful and stress free. It's good. Yeah.

We've had a few near misses and one where they had to turn around and go back to Healesville and start up again. I wanted to make sure that wasn't me, So that was good. Great. Yeah. It's a beautiful spot.

Yeah, it is, isn't it? So, Peter, we've known each other a long time and we've got a mutual friend going back to when you were at university. Yes. So I reached out to her today and I said. Tell me some fun facts. About Peter from his university days. And she said, nothing that your audience could.

So I don't know what that means. That's very, very gracious. You know, university was a fun time.

Yeah, that's. I'll leave with. That. So, you know, for all those people looking for career choices, what did you choose? So I had an interesting time.

So when I was at high school, I was studying essentially maths and sciences. And I didn't I thought engineering was interesting, but I liked the just the blue sky nature of science where you can just study something for its own sake. And so I remember going to the Monash Uni open day and coming back and explaining to the careers counsellor at school. I was really excited because I discovered that there was a double degree you could do a science and engineering degree and so I didn't need to choose. I could just go and still do both. So that led to a long time university. I spent the maximum time that I could at university and came out with a science degree and an engineering degree. And all the time that I was

studying engineering, I, I just couldn't imagine that I would have a job where someone was going to pay me to design things that they would then go and build. And yet, lo and behold, that's exactly what I'm doing now. And it's been really exciting and fun. Right. So Power Electronics, that was your passion. So my dad studied electrical engineering and did a PhD in electrical engineering. And so at at home in our shed when I was growing up, we had these racks of equipment that you would probably describe as an analogue computer.

And essentially I just pulled them all apart. And so I was interested in that. And then, yeah, Power Electronics grabbed me because it really covers you have to be across the whole breadth of electrical engineering to do power, power, electronics, engineering. There's, you know, thermal management, mechanical arrangements, design and magnetic components, circuit topologies, control theory, digital control. And you've got to you know, I'm not an expert

in all of those things, but you have to have a pretty a broad understanding of a lot of different technologies to be able to make a piece of power electronics work, right? Yeah, You've got to have that overview. Yeah. And focusing on your speciality. But keep keep your heads up on where other people might slot in. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Get an effective team and be able

to work together with that team. Yeah, right. So that kind of brings us to Rectifier Technologies. I'm just guessing it has something to do with Rectifiers, correct? That is it. So it goes back to the days when for

telecommunications exchanges that were run off 48 volt batteries because they needed the backup if the power went out. And so the bit of equipment that was that charge, the battery was called a rectifier. And historically that would have been a a diode bridge and a capacitor rectifier type of thing. And then where Rectifier Technologies really got started was they developed switch made converter technology for telecommunications rectifiers, and they were very successful at that. And and then they then expanded into sort of that utility back up space.

So, you know, we have clients who might be run substations and they need backup power for the control systems in their substations. And so we're providing the rectifiers that keep the batteries charged for those those for that backup. Just to explain to our audience a bit about difference between switch mode and say, a bridge rectifier. Yeah former so in a bridge in a transformer with a bridge rectifier all the all the power convergence happening at mains frequency which is in Australia is 50 hertz. When we use switch mode technology we use power semiconductor. Is to do that power conversion at

much higher frequency. So, for example, it might be typically 50 kilohertz or 100 kilohertz. So you're bringing an AC, rectifying it to DC. Initially, yes, there would have been a conventional diode rectifier and then you would use switch mode technology to process the power after that. These days we're doing the direct interface to the grid is is a switch mode converter. Right? And so hence that's where your image filter becomes much harder to do.

Well, it's more important to have a good amp filter. Yeah. Yeah. I'd love to expand a few acronyms for our audience. Sure.

Am I electromagnetic interference? Yeah. I had to think about it. Yeah. Other people use EMC, which is electromagnetic compatibility. Yeah. Yeah, because there's regulations around it. Yes. So I. I describe the way I describe what electromagnetic compatibility is, is you remember in the old days where you had the kitchen whiz? Yeah, right.

And when you turn on the kitchen whiz, the TV just went to snow. Yeah, right. And so what that means is that the the kitchen is, is radiating too much and the TV's too susceptible to that radiation. And so or that interference.

Be a brushed motor or. Possibly. Yes. Yeah yeah. So lots and lots of barking and sparking and so it can be actual radiation or it can be conducted in the power lines. It can be both. And so essentially electromagnetic compatibility means you have to design your equipment so that it can is not susceptible to other emissions made by other equipment. And so the limit for that will be down or be up here and then the emissions limit is set down here so that other equipment shouldn't emit noise above a certain level. And there's a margin in between, which means all the equipment can operate compatibly with each other.

So this is the challenge for Rectifier Technologies is to build something that's a efficient but doesn't generate lots of electromagnetic noise, correct? Yeah. Yes. And that's what you've done? Yes. How long have you been doing this for Rectifiers? So Rectifier Technologies this year, celebrating their 30th year, which is a great milestone. Their their business has evolved from initially being a licensing business where they would develop technology and then license it to other people. We now own our own factory and manufacturing equipment for our customers. So 30 years ago, what was the market? Well, the market was telecommunications companies that needed to keep all those exchanges going and have backup power for all those exchanges.

He's still doing that. We still do that for some customers. It's mostly, I would say now we do the backup power for industrial applications. So it might be, you know, a substation either for a power utility or a substation for a mining company where they've got a remote area, you know, power system. We also do some scientific

instrumentation, power supplies. So they're high voltage things for high voltage power supplies for companies that make sort of spectrometer type equipment. So they have a very particular requirement.

And yes, we've developed and manufactured power supplies for them. So basically anywhere that someone needs DC at different voltage levels of power levels. Yes. Taking in AC as a source.

Yes. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Historically that tended to be single phase AC. And now as the power levels are increasing, obviously we're moving to what we we have been doing for a while. Three phase taking

in three phase. Ac What's the advantage of doing it via three phase? So for the same amount of power you are going to draw a lot less current. So in the first instance, a third of a third of the current, because there's three phases and the power flow. So so with a single phase, you can't get away from the fact that that it's a sinusoidal and you're drawing a sinusoidal current out of a sonic sort of voltage source. So the power must

be sinusoidal. And so that means you need a greater energy storage capacitor within your equipment to smooth out that sinusoidal power flow. And you're going through zero. Zero. 100 times.

200 times a second through zero. Whereas with three phase, inherently it's much closer to DC. The power you're drawing from the grid is never zero. Yeah, right. Because at least from one of the phases or two of the phases at a time, there's a nonzero power coming in.

Yeah, you're sort of overlapping. Yeah. Let's try to think of an analogy just on the fly. And I couldn't think of one, but I just mentioned people growing, you know, like, all pulling together. So there's a pause and there's another pause. Imagine if we rode in three phase at 130 degrees apart.

Yes. It'd be like that. Everyone has a slightly different cycle. Yeah. Yeah. You get a very smooth flow on the water. Yes. That would be the difference. It wouldn't be going. Zip. Zip.

And that's one of the problems. Especially especially for where it's really advantageous is for motors. Yeah. Right. There's just a steady power flow. Yeah. So that has advantages of not wearing

our bearings and things like that in motors. Yeah. Vibration, speed change. Yeah. What about split phase? That bizarre thing? Do you do anything on that? No. That's my guy. No, no.

It's just a bad idea. Yes. I mean, yes. But this is one of the advantages of power electronics is it does make so so it does really make it possible to develop a single piece of equipment that you can put into any market in the world, whether they're 50 hertz, 60 hertz, whether they're 120 volts, whether they're 240 volts. You can just make one piece of equipment that can automatically adjust and regulate and take the power from whatever is presented. To it, which is what we expect of every plug in device we. Have. I phone charger.

It's the one other than the other than the little prongs coming out the back. Yes. What's inside it. Is the people sometimes bend. Yes. To get them in the power point.

Yes. Well, they shouldn't do they shouldn't be dangerous. It's dangerous. Because you don't have proper mating, do.

You? Yes. So what's inside the little box is the same all around the world? Yep. So coming back to Rectifier Technologies, where are you based? So our design centre where I work is in Burwood, in Melbourne, in Victoria. Our sales and marketing group are based in Singapore and our factory is based in Johor Bahru in Malaysia. Wow. So Global company. A global company? Yes.

And a multinational. I've got some notes here, which is a bit of Dorothy Dix because some of these were provided by your team. But I note that you've received an award from the Victorian Government. What was that.

For? We have. So that was it's called the AI Awards. They're an innovation award. That's. It's a competition run by the Victorian Government to highlight and bring to people's attention the exciting things that are going on here in Victoria in technology development.

So you won this award from the Victorian Government, the AI AI Awards. What was it for? So that was for our T 22 EV charging module, which is a 50 kilowatt charging module. It takes in three phase AC and provides an isolated, regulated DC output current for charging electric vehicles, and that voltage can be anywhere from 50 to 1000 volts. So it can do all of the Chademo or CCS range. Wow. 50 to 1000 insane range.

Yes. Right. What sort of current. So at up to 400 volts, it'll do 125 amps.

And then above that the current decreases to maintain its 50 kilowatt rating. So a 50 amp set 1000 volts. So at 50 volts, how many amps can it do? Still only 125. Okay.

So yeah, it can only deliver its full power down to 400 volts. Yeah. And then below that, the power decreases because we're at the maximum current that we can deliver. Now, if anyone's wondering, we actually got an RC 22 in the boot in the car, we'll bring it out and do that little reveal. But it's coming.

So hang in there. Yeah. So we're moving on to EV charging now. How did Rectifier Technologies go from making charging unit for telecom telco sites to EVs? So what was happening was that battery voltages were increasing and so we had people coming to us saying, Can you make a charger that can charge 400 volts? And then we had people coming to us who said, Oh, can we use these modules in an EV charger? And so we started selling those modules that hadn't initially been designed as an EV charging module to companies that wanted to make an EV charger, and they were putting those modules inside it. And then as we looked into it further, we better understood what an EV charger was. And so we've also now are developing our own SAC, which is supply equipment charge controller, which goes inside your EVs, your electric vehicle, supply equipment. And so we're doing that as well. But but that led us to really then focus on what would be what would be a module that would be really suited to an EV charger.

Got you. I'm just going to stop you there for a moment because we've run through a few acronyms and descriptions just for the audience. When we talk about charges, we're actually talking about a DC charger that's directly charging the battery in your car.

The thing that most people refer to as a charger is actually just electric vehicle supply equipment. It's a box on the wall, single phase or three phase, AC power that plugs into the car and communicates with the car. The car itself determines the charge rate.

So for most people at home, they'll be charging with either a plug that plugs into a ten amp socket or a dedicated EVC. And in the latter case, it'll be the vehicle that determines the charge rate. So just because you've bought a 22 kilowatt EV AC doesn't mean it's going to charge your car at 22 kilowatts. Yeah, but DC, it's a whole different story. Well it's still the car. Telling the, the equipment how much current it wants and then the, the equipment just provides that amount of current. So, so the car is always

monitoring because the car is in control of the battery and it's things like battery temperature, battery age, all of those things will state of charge. All those things determine what's the best rate to charge that battery at to give it its maximum lifetime. And so the car the car's carrying the battery, the battery is part of the car. The car chooses how

fast to charge the battery. I've had people say to me, Oh, it's not good to use your DC charge to charge your car. I should be using the AC supply. What's actually happening is the AC is being converted to DC.

It's just the car either has an onboard charger that is converting that AC to DC electric vehicle charger that's outside is converting the AC DC. A battery can only be charged with DC power. I think they referring to the rate of charge too, because generally DC charges are much faster than. Your. Wall mounted AC supply. And so that's really where people need to think about that. The electric vehicle maker has determined what

is an appropriate level to charge that battery at. They're providing the warranty on that battery. And so they've determined that it's okay to charge that battery at that rate. Right. So it's the car that's making that decision. Yeah, I've noticed that because we've got like seven EVs here. And, you know, people plug them in

all the time and they charge at different rates because of temperature, the condition of the battery, the state of charge. That's all because the car is looking after that battery and that's covered by the manufacturer's warranty and the design of the product. So you can feel confident that you can use a fast DC charger because it's warrantied for it. Yes. Yes. Yeah. It's also what people want. They don't want to sit around for 8 hours watching it slowly fill up.

I think it actually it kind of depends. And for some people there will be a bit of a paradigm shift in the context of essentially wherever they are, wherever they're sitting down, they will have they will plug in their mobile phone. So that's just always charged. And similarly, there are people who I speak to who say, you've just got to make a bit of a shift to that mindset that essentially wherever you are with your EV, if it's parked somewhere, wherever you possibly can, you're plugging it in to charge it up. And so then if you're in that mindset, the actual

charge rate becomes less important. Where the charge rate is important is where people still have the mindset of I'm going up to a petrol pump and I want to spend 3 minutes filling my petrol tank and then I go again right in that mindset, then the rate of charge is very important. Yeah. So it's all about the rate. Of if you're travelling, that's important. That's important, yes.

But if you're at home, it's not important. It's not important. Yeah. If it fills up in 10 minutes or 10 hours in your sleep, it doesn't really make any difference. And we're seeing these things, you know, the market is evolving and different trends and and patterns are happening. We've done some work on a DC charger for home use, that seven kilowatt single phase or an 11 kilowatt three phase charger. Whoa, whoa. Did you say DC home charger?

They say home chargers. That's a that's a new one to me. Wow. Well, so but this is so we've done some development on that. And what we're now seeing is and us and we know other companies as well are struggling to actually see how it's going to work in the sense of who's going to buy them. Right. Because all the cars are still carrying around their own on board charger.

We're not yet aware of a car that doesn't have an on board charger. So when an electric vehicle maker decides to not have an on board charger anymore, then we can see there'll be a really big market for a home DC charger that can charge more quickly. But until that happens, more people can just still plug into a plug at home. And so why would they spend the money to get a a home charger? And so we've done some.

Development in that area. We know other companies have as well. But it's just, you know, a few years ago it was looking like that decision might be made more quickly.

It hasn't been yet. And it'll be I'm sure, that the carmakers are all sort of looking at each other going, right, who's going to be first? I mean, cars are really interesting in the way they've evolved, what the product offers. I mean, I'm just thinking back, my first car that's embarrassing was a Lada Russian built like.

Fantastic. I wouldn't be embarrassed about that. Oh, that'd be cool. Well, it was a pretty clunky car. Yes, it was on and there weren't many of them would go off or whatever. But also it came with a tool bag that you could do engine maintenance. So basically it was like a golf bag full of tools. Yeah. These days, you're lucky if you get a wheel

brace. Yes. Also, you're lucky if you get a spare tire. That's right.

Because it's extra space. It takes up on the vehicle so that you're actually interested in volume for storage and it's an extra cost and you hardly ever use it. Yes. So. So I don't have an EV yet, but I've got a hybrid. And we we went on a trip to Alice Springs.

And so for that I had to go and buy a spare wheel that sits in the back of the car because it didn't come with a spare tire. And because I was going to Alice Springs, I thought I probably should have a spare, proper spare wheel. Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think people have started doing that in a big way, too. You don't even get a plug pack now with the find, all you do is get the cable. Right? Yes.

Wow. And partly that's just those little outlets. They're ubiquitous. Yeah. And I think, you know, in the longer term, that's where I see ev charging will be. Just wherever you are, there will be something for you to plug your car into. So what would be the advantage of a DC home charger over a conventional AVC? From the car side, it means that the car's not carrying around the weight of it on board charger.

So, you know, and that would enable them the car to be cheaper. So it's about where you put the cost. Aren't you also allowing for more choice about rate of charge because the onboard chargers are fixed charger, you can't change it to a higher rate. Correct. Yes. So then when you when you have a home charger, you could have potentially a 20 kilowatt charger at your home. You know, then then that comes

down to how much you're spending on your connection to the grid. Yeah. I mean, I think particularly people with two cars that might be one that stays at home when it goes to work. Yeah. And so there'll be the one that

doesn't get an opportunity to charge at home very often, because if it needs a long, slow charge. Yeah. But having a quick charge occasionally, certainly if you had the capacity to do that, it's another question. I mean homes have been built really more just the appliances in your home. Yes. And then but then we then you go to there's the capacity of the home and then the you expand that out to the capacity of the grid.

And that that will be another issue to be addressed about that that macro level of managing power flow within the grid. You might have what's in the UK's called the Coronation Street effect. Do you know about this? No. So Coronation Street that.

Oh, sorry. Yes. The long running, but now deceased TV series was widely watched in Britain and whenever there was an ad break, everyone would go and put on their kettle and make a cup of tea. So there was this very defined moment when the power on the grid would just rock it up. It's everything put on there.

1500 watt kids. Yes. And so in the power stations, they had to kind of watch Coronation Street waiting for the moment, know it's time to crank on the furnace.

Yeah. So you can see the same thing happening with people like pigeons coming home from to roost, plug their car in when they come home. So there'll be this big peak all at the same time. Yes. What's the solution? One, you might.

It depends. There needs to be signal to people about when it's okay to turn on their to charge their car or not. Right. And that signal could take many forms.

It could be a very explicit signal that says you are allowed to charge at this rate. Now, it could be a price signal that, you know, at this time it's now more expensive to charge. And that will act to smooth out that that charging. So how can you tell it the change its rate how does that happen? So that's that's communication standards that are being developed.

And for EV chargers there's a standard called OCP, which is to do with that communication between the charger outside world, let's call it, whether that's via the Internet or however it is that that's where that's happening. Right. So I'm just thinking through an equivalent at the moment, as in South Australia and Western Australia, introduce flexible exports of solar because they've got too much solar. Solar. And they're wanting to have more sort of fine grained control of your. Home solar power system.

Yes, I guess the same could be implemented for electric vehicles. So there's a little bit of scheduling going on. Absolutely. I mean, I was just thinking about three phase. For instance. You could even just do it like, you know, so many minutes on on L one, then L two in L three and the same LV network that help it.

No, that's out of balance. Yeah. That would not, that wouldn't help at all. That would help it. Let's make them synchronise. Yes. Yeah. So no it's, it's an as you say, all of

these, these things are evolving as essentially this is, this is an acceleration of issues that have been going on in the grid for a while. Yeah. Initially it was solar PV and that distributed energy generation. That was not how our grid was designed and envisaged.

And so that was a shift. And then we're transitioning essentially the way you could think of it is the energy that is in all the petrol that is burnt every day in Australia. We are now expecting to come from our electricity grid. Yeah, and so that won't happen overnight, but that obviously will, the grid will need to change to be able to manage that. Right. Well I'm just thinking upstream from your

home. Next thing is the transformer down the street, correct? Yes. And so, you know, I have a friend of mine who was told who wanted to get solar and he was told, well, you can only have three kilowatts because your neighbours got in first and the transformer is now full, not, you know, the transformers at capacity. If you want to pay us $10,000 to put in a bigger transformer, then you can have five kilowatts, but otherwise you can only have three kilowatts. And so you might see things like that

happening with the fast chargers at home. The people who get in first in the street get in first. I'm thinking of my feet here, but we have two problems at either end of the spectrum. We've got a generation problem with synchronised solar, it generates with the sun, and then we've got a load which might well come on whenever we kind of match those better.

Absolutely. That would be nice, especially in a sense like, you know, in the same street at the same time, solar pumping cars are charging. There's going to be very little load on the transformer, but you'd have to guarantee that to happen. So they'd have to be fine going control of that. Yes. Yes. Maybe with some price signalling.

Maybe price signalling. Yeah. But so yeah, there's two different there's, you know, there's a myriad of approaches at one end. You just say it's a market response and it's price signalling at the other end. It's a technology response and the grid operator can tell any piece of equipment when to turn on or off or how much it's allowed to draw or generate. That's where AEMO sits.

Yeah, well I am actually trying to manage all of it. But it is set the pricing. Yes, that is. Yes.

Yes. So and, and that's sort of you know, I developed power conversion equipment. Yeah. I have awareness of these topics. I'm not an expert in these topics, but you know, they're interesting to to think about in relation to what we're developing. Yes. It's technology meets policy, correct? Yes. Yeah. Which is where, you know, some people say

that's where the most interesting stuff is. Yeah. So I've just got my note here. Fleet's heavy duty vehicles in DC, fast charging. What's that. About? So there's a system called mix which stands for megawatt charging system. Yeah. And that is taking ev charging up to that next

level. So that's talking about buses, trucks, boats and planes and, and how you can charge much faster. And at those levels they're talking up to say 1200 volts at 1000 amps. So that's 1.2 megawatts. And for that to happen, there's technologies like the actual plug that you are plugging into your. Vehicle.

And the cable are all liquid cooled because there's so much current going down that. Right. Thing that to keep to stop it melting, you need to actively cool the cable and the connector.

I mean, it sounds it sounds dangerous, but I like to kind of think about what we've got at the moment with internal combustion engines is that you turn up at a service station and you open a hole in the side of your vehicle where combustible fumes are venting out flammable flammable gases and you get a pipe thing and hope you get it in the right hole and squeeze and you just read the instructions that say you should be over 16. Don't talk on your mobile phone, don't smoke. And that's all the safety information we get. But when we've got an electrical connection, there's all this kind of communication and preconditions and like you say, liquid cooling. It's kind of a lot safer. Yes.

Yeah. Yes, it is a lot safer. You can't even drive your car off with a service station. You can just drive off in. The hope that the car won't let you. Know. No, no, no, no. In fact, I believe your car's. We let you after you've charged? Well, yes.

Well, what. We're finding with the Nissan Leaf is that when you charge it on DC, I think this applies to some of the earlier versions. And we've looked around on the Internet and.

We should flag it that you've got a direct import from Japan. So it's not what you buy in Australia. It's not it's not what you buy in Australia. But when you look around on the Internet, it seems to be a known problem with some of the earlier ones that when you DC charge them, it causes some communication faults that get logged in the memory of the computer that can sometimes lead it to not want to go. Euphemistically brick your car. Oh, we haven't actually bricked it yet. We've always been able to reset it.

But. But you've got like a 1000 box. Yes. It allows you to reset. Allows you to plug into the car's computer and look at all the fault codes and just reset that.

They come in the boot with your spare tyre. Now, we actually got that separately. That's. That's okay.

Now, when you pulled up here, you plugged into the lovely Delta 50 kilowatt charger. Now, it's an older model. And yes, we did pick that up and it did take a crane to lift it. Its 50 kilowatt DC charger weighs

780 kilos. So how have is your 50 kilowatt charge? So our 50 kilowatt charger weighs 50 kilos. Uh huh. How do you do that?

Using switch my power conversion technology. Right. So the difference is that's got a massive transformers and steel. So yeah. And when you say my mains transformer.

The key thing that you need to understand is that's operating at 50 hertz. Right? And when you operate a transformer at a higher frequency, it means you can make it smaller. Right. That's the key.

That's a bit of magic. Yeah, I call it physics. Physics. In some ways you're indistinguishable. That's right. I think as the clock. Sits, it's something like any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Yeah.

It's so true. It's so true. Yeah. So that's why your 50 kilowatt charger, which we'll have a look at the moment, the 22. And what sort of power levels could you go up to with it. You know, so we've designed it.

So it's a, it's a module, we call it a module, and that can be stacked together up to 350 kilowatts. So an EV charger maker could make a 50 kilowatt charger, 100 kilowatt charger all the way up to 350 kilowatts just by choosing the number of modules that they choose to put inside their equipment. And up to 1000 volts. A thousand volts, Yes. Wow. Okay. And and that's to go with the some of the

different vehicle standards around the battery voltages. And again, that's another one where it's not necessarily clear what the answer is going to be. Different makers currently are doing different things.

Yeah, some you know, the battery nominal voltage is 800 volts, so that'll be a bit higher when it gets to full charge. Yeah. See that trend happening now? So like our EV which is a couple of years old, 400 volts, those are the ones here are the new Ionic's. And I think the Teslas are 800 volts. Yes, I think the Porsche is 800 volts as well.

So for those who are not familiar with Ohm's Law, you double the voltage, you have the current. Yes. And currency problem. It's the size of your cable and the heat and all the electronics have to carry that. But the voltage is a kind of a bit of a friend. Yeah. In terms of the transmission of the power, it's a lot easier to do at high voltage.

Yeah, I'm sure the people who are designing the battery packs, they've got their interesting challenges to solve as they scale the battery voltage up. Yeah. Because, because when we talk about the car battery, it's not one 800 volt battery. It's a it's a whole lot of smaller cells stacked on top of each other. It's amazing to think that an 18 6050 cell like the Tesla started with 11,000 or something all stacked in the bottom of your car.

Yes, that's right. Luckily, you don't have to take them out one by one. Charge them. There's a very funny video somewhere on the Internet about a mercedes where you actually open the the fuel flap and you pull a little thing. And then all these AA batteries start like thousands of batteries start coming out and so on. Now we've got charging from the grid to the vehicle.

But what about reversing that process? I get a lot of questions like when will I run my house off my electric vehicles battery? Yeah. So, so that's called V to G or vehicle to grid. Some people call it v2x because there's other people think about it in other ways. Vehicle to home different ways. But but essentially what it means is that you're taking power out of sorry, you're taking energy out of the battery and you are putting that back into the grid to power either your home or whatever. The grid really. And so, so people may be familiar with.

A stationary home battery system where they've got a back up battery maybe connected to their solar system. Really, this is no different to that. The the the only difference now is that the battery is on wheels and what has to to facilitate that there needs to be communications protocols that are being developed and there's a standard called ISO 1511 eight Dash 20, which is a communications protocol standard. Now why do you need a communication protocol? It's because the reason you need a communications protocol is because you've got different cars made by different manufacturers, you've got different EV charging equipment made by different manufacturers. And so we need a recognised language for all of those things to talk to each other. So it's kind of the USB. Of car charging so Correct.

Anything to plug into anything with the right connector on it. And so that there's there's the message is understood where the ABC says I want to take ten kilowatts from this battery to put into the House. It can explain that to the car. The car can say, okay,

I'll accept that at this time or no, my battery is nearly flat. I'm not going to let you do that at this time. I've heard some pundits say how useful it would be for many people who. The vehicle leaves and there's still loads in the house. So really, it's only when the vehicles at home that that be useful. And where do you charge it? So if you're going to charge it at home, you're not going to use it as a supplied.

I mean, it's one of those things that's evolving and and I don't think all the economics have played out yet. Yeah, I have heard of cases where people have just gone and bought an EV that has this capability and put it in their garage as their home battery because it's the cheapest way to buy a big battery is. It is look, I've got a 60 kilowatt hour battery pack here for my microgrid. Yes. And it costs about the same as my car, which is a car and about 64 kilowatt hour batteries. So I get free car.

Free car with your battery. There you go. So that. But clearly that won't. That that only that only is happening because of sort of the markets and volumes and things like that. Yeah, it makes no logical sense. We're starting to see cars come out with power outlets on them. So vehicle to load.

Vehicle to load. So she got a three pin plug on your car and you can I mean, some of them have like seven or them. Yeah, it's not going to ruin your weekend. It's going to make your weekend. That's right. You take your induction cooker with you in your small portable fridge and you know all your toys. You just need to make sure you've got enough to drive home. That's right.

But but it does. I mean, I see this as part of a trend, which I you know, I didn't make this up, but I just it's the electrification of everything. Yes. You know, it's it's your home water heater is now a reverse cycle. Heat pump. All of those you're cooking is an induction cooktop. It's the electrification of everything because because it is you can have very fine control of the power. It's it we have the technologies to make it safe. And when the energy sources are renewable, then

everything's renewable. And so to me, it's we're at the start of just a trend in that direction. Maybe I'm trying to think of another analogy, 11 analogy. So electricity is the bitcoin of energy. It can be tried at any time.

Can be tried it anyway. Yes, it's very flexible, hopefully. Probably. And and you know, people are using it to speculate as well. You know, there are there are power companies that essentially encourage you to buy your power every 3 to 6 months in advance. And they say, you know, we give you a bit of a discount if you buy it now for for November, you get a bit of a discount. And essentially they're just

running a hedge fund about what they'll be able to buy it for in the future and what they can charge you for it now. All right. That helps fund their ongoing. That's right. Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, that's it's it is becoming a you know, it's a commodity. So coming back to bidirectional charging because there's a lot of interest in this.

Yes. Are there any products you can buy now that do this that you can install in Australia. So the first thing you have to start with the car, Right? Right. The car, the car has to allow it.

Right. And I, I'm not actually I don't want to say anything because I don't actually know about who has it or doesn't. I'm pretty sure it's only Chademo. Yes. Yeah. And so I think that means it may be

Mitsubishi have been offering. And Nissan and Nissan the Zoe right because they have the Chademo. They've got. Yes. Yes. Yeah.

And that's because you can have. You can have cars that still don't allow the bi directional right. Yeah. It's not just because it's shard. Yeah. That it is that it can be bi directional.

The chademo standard has everything in it to enable it. Yeah. But that doesn't necessarily mean just because the car makers putting a demo badge on their car that the car can do bi directional power transfer. Yeah. Rather than us making up rubbish. Let's reach out to the hive. Mind if anyone.

Actually knows. What. Put it in the comments place. There you go. But, but. So you got to start with the car. Got it right. Yeah. And then once, once you've got the car then

the, the. However that connection is being made to the grid, whether that's an AC connection or it's a DC connection, the equipment has to have the capability to communicate with the car that it wants, that it can take power back to the grid. Are you saying that you can get bidirectional AC out of the car to the grid? It's I thought that in in the in the is 4777 standard which is historically everyone thinks about that in terms of solar inverters. Yes.

Because that's where it sort of came from. Yes. In the most recent edition of that standard, it allows for so so the title of as for 777 is a grid connection of energy systems via inverters. Right. So it's not saying it's PV. Yeah, it's not saying what the energy source is.

It's just saying when you connect an energy source to the grid with an inverter, this standard applies now. So when we think about it in that context, it's in the latest edition of it. It allows for the energy source being an electric vehicle and it doesn't stipulate whether the conversion from DC to AC happens in a box on the wall or in the on board charger in the car.

So the power and the cable can be either. Icao, DC. It doesn't matter. It's allowed for in the standard. And and that is, again, perhaps one of the difficulties in for people who want this to happen now and why it hasn't happened now is because it creates that uncertainty about what's the best way to do it, who is which way should we do it.

So we're interfacing with a utilities network, so we've got to play by the. Rules, play by the rules. And that's what that's what the the as for 777 sets the rules for the equipment. Yeah.

Gotcha. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's about safety and grid stability. Really. Yes. Yes. And the and that grid stability. And that was the reason for the latest addition because there is now so much PV in Australia that is affecting the whole electricity.

The whole NEM could be affected. Yes. By what's happening with inverters on people's walls. Yes. People often think it's about the energy they

export to the grid, but it's actually the hidden load as well. Yes. That you're basically when you're generating your own energy and using it. And if something was to change on the network and all those inverters turn off together, whoa, that's 13 gigawatts of rooftop solar if they turned off its lights out Australia. Yeah. So it's almost the equivalent of someone unplugging. Loy Yang.

Yeah, right. Yeah, yeah. Straight away that, that's and that's the people who are responsible for thinking about that That's ammo and they're so that's why they got heavily involved in. Yeah. The latest revision of that standard.

Yeah. They're having a lot of sleepless nights at the moment. I Yes, yes. That's the way they think of everything. Apparently they're worried about a total eclipse in Queensland and Queensland.

I think it's 2028. Right. Because there'll be lights out in parts of Queensland for some minutes.

Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I noticed you mentioned on board charging Bidirectional with Renault, BYD and Hyundai. So those currently have that functionality but it's not necessarily compliant with our grid standard. Well so, so what that then means is the car maker has to get to be able to offer that in Australia. They have to get that on board charger qualified to be compliant with our Australian.

As for 777 standard in other parts of the world, it's a different standard. So in the US it's called, I believe, 1547. Yeah, right. And in Europe the German one's called a vda. A four something something. Yeah. Yeah.

And, but, but the key is that there's different standards all around the world and so to be able to offer that by directionality in a particular market, the on board charger has to comply with the standard in that market and Australia being a small market and all of that comes with the cost. It's a development cost, it's a qualification cost to validation cost. And so then it comes down to the size of the market. Australia is not a very big market for EVs. No.

We haven't got the incentives. And we have well, and you know, we could have a whole other discussion around why that is. But but you know, so so they probably haven't put the investment into making that available yet in Australia.

Here's an edge case for why vehicle to load can be useful one of the people that live here. So this is an off grid community. Yes. Has is about to buy a big three which has stock at outlet. Yeah. He's just asked about if he charges his car up at the sort of local community charging area, can he bring it home and then charge his home power system off it.

Legally now. Because you're not allowed to. You're not allowed to. I'm not charging it. Maybe he can. Yes, he had. And I think. There's a great grey area about that coupling, because if it's an interactive invert of the pin, the male pins could be live.

Could be live. But if it's a rectifier, yes, it's just basically an input. And so if the piece of equipment that charge the battery was a unidirectional piece of equipment, then he could do that.

Yeah, right. Well sorry. He would need to c seek guidance from a qualified. That's a good person and an electrician is not either. That's right. Yes. But this is interesting. Shifting energy with your

vehicle. So I'm getting it's. Like it's like, you know, for people, for people who aren't connected to mains water, Yeah. Sometimes they have to ring up a truck to come and fill up their dam or tank. Yeah. Been there. Yeah. It's exactly, it's, it's exactly analogous to that.

Yeah. People get those kind of old plastic tanks that used to have Coca Cola in them, put them on a trailer, drive to a filling station. So in relation to the Avs, I was in May, I was at a trade show in Germany, very big, and I saw a stand where what their business model that they were offering was you imagine your RACV ring up for a replacement battery.

Yeah, this van had a big battery in the back and it would drive up and recharge your electric vehicle wherever you were. Oh that's, that's, that's kind of useful. That's going to be needed because when you go to turtle mode and it turtles out. That's right. You're stuck. It's basically put on the back

of a truck and drive it away. Yeah, yeah. Right. Or you bring up these people and they'll come and just plug in and charge you up. Wow. At least carrying a little portable generator

in the back and sitting for 2 hours waiting. That's right. That's right. And so, you know, again, it just comes down to, you know, I think it's it's highly likely we'll see that in Australia. It just comes down to when there's enough people to make it a viable business model. Wow. Okay.

Yeah. And the would they be doing a AC DC conversion or it'd be DC? I think that would just be a decent DC to DC. Yeah. Well, so in this case it's a battery in the, in the van, the battery in the, you know, a battery in your car. So you would just do DC to DC. I mean, you know, power conversion engineers can do anything. We could convert it to AC and then back to DC.

Yeah but why just for the hell of it. Yeah. Yeah. It's just a few efficiency losses. That's right. Yes. Now we're coming to the end here of my list, and I see that I think we started this already about whether the grid can cope with the rush to, you know, full EVs. Yeah. What's your opinion? Uh, I think it will.

Yeah. You know, the the the drive will be there. So. So I think people. A thing that I think people don't quite appreciate is that they think Australia can make decisions on our own. Right. We don't make any cars anymore. Right. All the, all the car makers in the world are being pushed by the really big markets who are saying, you know, the UK and Europe are saying things like there's a law by 2035 or whatever it is for that different market, you will not be able to buy a petrol powered car or an internal combustion engine car anymore. So what's going to happen is that the

number of those cars that are made in the world will decrease so their price will go up. The number of EVs in the world is going to increase, so their price will come down. And if Australia is in a position to be able to buy lower cost EV cars, we're going to be left only able to buy more expensive internal combustion engine cars. So to me it's inevitable that you know where it's not a price taker. We're a product taker in Australia

for for vehicles because we don't make them anymore. So we can either pay that cost and let it take a lot longer or we can sort of embrace it and recognise that that's what's going to happen and make the transition as smoothly as we can. Maybe the opportunity for the rebirth of the Australian manufacture. There are people who are talking about that. I think they're doing it right now.

Yeah. I mean. Ev Yes, and certainly we're also for trucks and that sort of thing. I mean I've seen proposals for people to say, you know, Australia has got the lithium, we should be making the batteries, let's, let's put a massive battery factory here in Australia starting. Yeah. There's a couple of start ups looking at that now. Yeah, but I'm just thinking about the

difference between internal combustion engine manufacturing and electric vehicle. Electric vehicle has about a dozen moving parts, so there's very few moving parts. It's basically mouldings, bodies, batteries and an electric motor and some control systems. Yes. So as an engineering, as a mechanical engineering

exercise, it is much, much simpler than than an internal combustion engine. It's rocket science building engines. But but in terms of the electronics in it, it's you know, it's a computer. Yeah. And that's I mean, that's happening in petrol

powered cars anyway. You know, the, the whole car's computerised and then you've also got that, that core of power electronics. So it's not just the power electronics to charge the battery, it's to take the energy from the battery and turn the motors. All of that is power electronics. So essentially there's. So our our battery charger that takes AC and turns it into DC to charge the battery, There's the opposite. There's an inverter that's taking the battery DC voltage, converting that back to AC to power the motors.

It's been the. Motors. A very specific kind of AC. Yes, yes. Yeah. I mean, and that's the thing.

It's all about optimising the inverter and the motor. Yeah. So that they can function together as a system. Yeah. So essentially previously where the, the internal combustion engine was a thermo mechanical piece of equipment, Now we've got an electromechanical piece of equipment that is the, the inverter and the, and the motor operating together.

Yeah. Yeah. And so that's, that's in some ways a lot more sophisticated than an internal combustion engine. But given the supply chains, it can be easier to manufacture or the manufacture of it is a bit more distributed. All those things. Yeah, I think I like what you said about it's inevitable because of, you know, governments are putting limits on when you can sell an internal combustion engine. I think of this photo, you've probably seen it dating back to the beginning of the 19th century in New York.

Oh, yes. Yes, I'll put it on the screen. But it's a picture of New York where a big street where it's all horse and carts and there's one petrol powered car and then only a matter of few years later, it's all petrol powered cars and one horse. And it wasn't just that change, it was the whole infrastructure that supported the horse driven industry disappeared.

So the liveries for instance, you had to have somewhere to order your horse and that all disappeared in a matter of a few years and it was replaced with, you know, centralised pumping and it took a while to they had the same problem. There wasn't any place to fill up your petrol car. Exactly. Yes. But it happened. Quickly. It happened quickly. Yes.

And you know and the. I haven't. And I don't actually necessarily think that that EV or battery EVs as we currently are they're currently being developed at the end either. I mean, I have an analogy.

So in my lifetime I've seen in the audio music sphere of seeing LPs, cassettes, CDs. You know, digital storage. It's streaming and now streaming, right? Yeah. And that's, that's in, in my lifetime. Yeah. Right. So the, the amount of infrastructure

around cars is greater and so I don't I'm not saying it's going to happen as quickly, but in my head I wouldn't be surprised that that battery EVs are a stepping stone to something else. Oh, what would that be? Well, people certainly for trucks, people are seeing hydrogen fuel cells as a more viable. Right because energy dense. Not it's it's more that you you your capacity is not as constrained by you know you can put a bigger tank on and get more range if you like. Right. It's a bit hard to just plug a bigger battery

in the car. It's more it's you can have long range vehicles, short range vehicles, which is just a matter of plugging in that extra. And even a step further, you know, you think about a diesel train. Yeah, okay, we can electrify all the lines or we could have something with a different energy source. Right. And hydrogen being possible to make from

electricity as well means it's part of that system. Part of that. We don't have to dig it up out of the ground or pump it out. Yes. We're just basically taking sunlight,

wind and water, water and turning it into an energy source that can be converted to lots of other things. Yes, that's fantastic. And then back to water. Oh, goosebumps, electricity. So good said we touch it. Yes, Don't touch it.

Hey, I think it's time to look at the 22. What do you reckon? That'd be fantastic. Yeah. Let's do it. All right. Well, so, Peter, at 22.

Yeah, I'll take 22. It's in a couple of blocks. That's right. I love cardboard. That's good. That's good. Small cap or cardboard? Only cardboard, not lots of unrecyclable foam. No kidding.

So no. And there it is. Now, what you can. Also do is just follow that end there.

I think this one falls out. Yep. And then we can pull it. Just pull that towards you? Yep. Yes. Cut down the shot.

Cut. Oh, really? Like the packaging, by the way. Yeah. I mean, there was a first attempt where we did have non recyclable phone, but they've done a really good job, I think. Wow. Now we better fess up.

This is a dummy unit because it's 50 kilos where? And it looks the same. Correct? It looks the same. But as you can see, we're hefting it around. It's not 50. Kilos. Yeah, right. So it's next to useless for me.

Yeah. But still the basics. This looks like your standard mounting design. Exactly. So as for you. Yes, that's right. Yeah. Yep. And it's.

It's got mounting points here. All these on the side? Yep. So the idea is it'll slide into a shelf, and if we turn it around and have a look at the back. That's where these this connected system comes in. So the the rack would have a back panel in it that has the mating connectors here. This is the AC input. You can see the earth pin.

There's the slightly longer one. So it's the first mate last break concept. And this is the DC up here and there's that. This is a particular connector that's got those high powered DC connections as well as the communication signals in there.

And so that just slides in and makes into the rack. Is it like hot Swappable. It is hot swappable, yes. Well, okay. Because because of these communication pins they break and turns off.

Or yes, there's a, we call it an IP rectifier in place pin. Yeah. And if that signal is broken, then it'll disconnect. And we've got internal protections that mean that you're not having an in rush into the into the output capacitors in here from the bus that you're connecting to it. Right. So from a field service point of view it's not electrical work to disconnect this you're turning you were you wouldn't take it off load ideally wouldn't you.

Oh if I was doing it I'd be shutting the system down. And but, but conceptually this could be hot plugged. Right. But there's no terminals that you have to

connect, no wires, potential hazards. It's all screened. Yeah. It's all part of the that that's done wherever

the rack is manufactured together. All right. Yeah. Wow. And you can put up to 350 kilowatts. So what's that? Seven. Seven.

Wow. The limiting factor is what the. Well, what that would limit would be your your rack side equipment. From this side. There's there's really no. You got 125 amps coming out of here, right? Yeah. Yeah.

And so time. Seven. So the limit, the limitation. Yeah, it's seven. Well, no, no, no. But each of these connectors only sees 125 amps. Yes, but I'm saying it goes on to a backplane.

It goes on to Backplane. And it's summing it because they're in. Parallel. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So, so it's the limitation on the backplane in terms of our of the control systems within this. Essentially they are just.

A current source that's nearly 900 amps on the Backplane. Yeah. Whoa. That's. That might be your limiting factor. Yes. How big those. But, but it's.

Not necessarily an inherent limit of the of the unit itself. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Wow. What about can you have parallel units.

You've got 350 kilowatts, 350 kilowatts, etc.. Well you can but it goes to then the control to the, the load like whatever the you've got to have a connector that can take all of that power if you're putting it all into one load. Yeah. I'm just trying to think what we wouldn't there's no, no charges that could take more than three now I think at the moment but Yeah right. Yeah.

But this is where this, this megawatt charging system that we're on a committee that's discussing what that is going to entail and they're thinking about those kind of issues at the moment. Now, because my legs are squished here, Let's put this back on the table. Sure. And we can talk a bit more about it. Yeah. Okay. Well, Peter, here we are. Vat 22 on the table, unboxed. And that beautiful cardboard packaging.

2022-12-13 17:31

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