Energy storage integrator Off Grid Energy is supplying a 200kW battery storage system for installation at a busy London depot of the courier firm UPS.


The project will see UPS’ central London depot in Camden pilot technology to reduce the cost of charging freight electric vehicles (EVs).

The project will increase the number of freight EVs operating in the fleet from 50 to 70 and be able to facilitate up to 150 EVs.

During the night most of the EVs are parked at the depot while packages and parcels are processed for dispatch the following morning.

Off Grid Energy’s founder Danny Jones says: “The incoming grid supply is not enough to fully charge all of the parked EVs, so our energy storage system knows what level of charging each one requires and is able to top up the grid supply accordingly.”

The project is being run by UPS in conjunction with the distribution network operator (DNO) UK Power Networks, with funding from Innovate UK.

“When the depot needs the capacity for charging EVs it gets priority but the system is also made available to the network, so it has the ability to be utilised fully and monetised,” says Jones.


Avoiding grid connection and upgrade costs

Up until now, fleet operators would typically need to pay for significant upgrades to add capacity to their existing power supply from the network, to meet their new EV charging demand. The pilot with UPS is one of several approaches by UK Power Networks to bring that cost down.

Off Grid Energy started as a developer of a battery based temporary power system to off-set diesel generation. The company supplies mobile and temporary energy storage units that can work in conjunction with diesel generators at sites ranging from construction projects, to stadiums and festivals. The diesel gen-set can be run more efficiently by being used to charge the battery reducing fuel costs and emissions.

At EMEX in London in November 2017, Off Grid Energy powered one of the sessions with one of its mobile energy storage units

Off Grid Energy also exports its products to markets that include the Benelux, the US and recently Australia and central and eastern Europe. In Estonia the grid is being dismantled in rural areas, which has seen a depletion in local populations migrating to the cities, leaving underutilised transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure.

However, hybrid microgrids, using energy storage, with local renewables and/or diesel generation can provide power enabling the centralised grid to roll back.