A Ryerson University-led pilot project demonstrating the promise of pole-top energy storage was today unveiled at the university’s Centre for Urban Energy (CUE) by the Hon. Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. Today’s announcement is the culmination of a three-year collaboration between Ryerson, Scarborough, Ont.-based company eCamion and Toronto Hydro. The Government of Ontario is supporting the project through the Ministry of Energy’s Smart Grid Fund initiative.

In this unique project, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, eCamion’s modular storage solution, mounted on an electricity pole in an urban environment where space is at a premium, has been combined with a smart controller developed by Ryerson researchers and students that communicates with downstream smart meters of connected residences. The energy storage unit employs lithium-ion batteries which charge during off-peak hours and discharge during peak hours.

“Companies like eCamion and educational institutions like Ryerson are important partners in fostering a culture of innovation in our province and helping us become a key centre of low-carbon excellence,” said Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. “And this project is a great example of the kinds of partnerships we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our province and fight climate change.”

“Researchers at the Centre for Urban Energy are making huge strides in the area of energy storage. Thanks to cooperation and hard work between Ryerson, industry, utilities and the Ontario government, this innovative solution will be brought to market much sooner – bringing benefits to many Ontario residents,” said Mohamed Lachemi, Provost and Vice President Academic, Ryerson University. “The Centre for Urban Energy has been dedicated to projects like this one since its inception: solving real-world problems in collaboration with its utility and industry partners and giving students vital hands-on practical experience and training.”

The project will demonstrate the promise of energy storage on the Toronto Hydro grid. Potential benefits to Ontario residents and businesses could include improved system reliability, further integration of renewable energy sources and electric vehicle charging stations, as well as reduced usage during peak hours, leading to a cleaner and more cost-effective grid.  The first unit will be mounted on a Toronto Hydro pole later this year.

“Toronto Hydro is happy to support innovative ways of integrating new technologies into our current electrical grid,” said Gary Thompson, Lead, Generation and Capacity Planning, Toronto Hydro. “It’s important for us to invest in technology like energy storage that can help improve customer reliability and plan for a smart future.”

The project will also showcase ‘Made in Ontario’ technologies. eCamion is a local company out of Scarborough, Ont. The controller and other prototypes that have contributed to this project were all developed in the GTA and will be pursued for worldwide collaboration.

“This type of collaboration is what is needed to bring new clean technologies to the market place. Enabling SMEs to punch above their weight and accelerate novel products locally and globally,” said Hari Subramanian, Chief Executive Officer, eCamion.