Roger: Before joining Connected Energy, we were both at Lotus Engineering. In 2013 we began working on an energy storage demonstrator project, named EVEREST. The project brought a range of partners together, including what is now Connected Energy. The aim was to prove the concept of energy storage using different second life automotive batteries.
A key part of the project was integrating the batteries into a single point of control as an energy store. As well as batteries the test site had a wind turbine with solar for power generation and a bank of EV charges for high demand loads.
Paul: Up until that point, our roles had been focussed purely on automotive engineering, so this was a departure for us both. But it had become clear to Lotus that, with the rise of EVs, they would need to invest in charging infrastructure on site. However, there was a known grid constraint issue in the North Norfolk area that led to the desire to investigate alternative options.
Roger: The project used multiple types of batteries and our role was to develop a control system that would communicate with them separately whilst ultimately treating them as a single asset through a central controller. It led to us gaining a huge amount of experience and creating what was really the Mark 1 of our product today.
Paul: There were some real challenges in those early days. Not least that we needed to prove that we could develop different battery level controllers that could be integrated with one single master power delivery controller.
Roger: We did all this without any instruction manual, there wasn’t one. But we were focussed on compressing all the communications data that we had, from a range of different batteries, into one system as well as handling the speed of response.
Paul: After the project successfully completed, we joined Connected Energy. At that point, there were only seven employees.
Roger: The magnificent seven founder members as we liked to call ourselves. Paul and I were the original members of the software team.
Paul: The company then set out to develop a larger prototype for a commercial system and our role was to develop the brains of that system using a single different controller.