Electric vehicles have seen a surge in demand amid concerns about increasing pollution level and emission of greenhouse gasses. The electric vehicles have capability of energy storage which provides us with an interesting opportunity to utilize them for energy storage and distribution during ‘peak’ demand.
This technology is known as vehicle to grid (V2G) technology and it can be a promising solution for future energy problems. With V2G-technology, parked electric vehicles can be turned into power service providers. It is known that the Energy Storage Systems in an electric vehicle allows two-way power flow, they can be used to take power from or supply power to a connected grid.
In V2G technology, an exchange system between the grid and a vehicle with electrical energy storage is setup which can be utilized for the benefit of both the parties involved. It works through specially designed bi-directional charging stations that allow electric vehicles owners to charge their cars whilst also facilitating the discharge of the vehicle’s battery.
The vehicle batteries that are fully charged during low-demand hours and when the vehicle is not being operated, the on-board battery is connected to a nearby electrical grid via appropriate communication devices. The flow can be reversed at any time according to the requirements.
This is done by using a concept of ‘smart grid’ which is an electricity network capable of processing the information. It can also manage the electricity flow to fulfil the end users varying power demand and is able to provide communication between generation sources and end users.
Several companies are working to solidify the use of electric vehicle batteries as a mobile energy source, which could absorb electrical overload from a solar facility, or supply a building with power when no power is generated on a large scale.
The transmission system operator TenneT, the energy service provider The Mobility House and the automotive manufacturer Nissan are working on a joint project to investigate the ways in which electric cars can contribute towards solving the problem of security of supply.
In the project, TenneT, The Mobility House and Nissan are making use of the potential of the batteries in electric vehicles for storing locally produced electricity and to feed it back into the grid to stabilise the grid.
During the project phase, Nissan electric vehicles are being used as mobile energy storage systems in the TenneT control area in Northern and Southern Germany to directly reduce local overloads in the power supply or power demand. After a successful implementation of the project, Nissan e-vehicles could be used for this purpose right across Germany.
The load and energy management software developed by The Mobility House enables automated control of the vehicle charging and discharging process.
British energy provider OVO Energy has presented a Vehicle to Grid charger for use at home with a 6 kW charge. In the first step, it will be handed out for free to 1,000 Nissan Leaf owners this summer.
Similarly, Hitachi, Mitsubishi and the French utility Engie recently introduced a new project which will use electric cars as an energy buffer for office buildings in what they call a V2B model. The charging scheme is made possible using a V2X charger made by Hitachi, while Engie is optimizing the energy system in the building and Mitsubishi has provided its Outlander PHEV as the central testing vehicle.
Japanese carmaker Honda is also working with green energy supplier Good Energy and Salford University to investigate how vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology could stabilise the national grid and cut costs for households.
The researchers, working in partnership with smart energy firm Upside Energy, will examine energy flows around a normal home that uses an electric car, to investigate how car batteries could be used by the grid to store and export energy in response to national demand.
It will assess how well V2G technology can work with homes already using solar panels and batteries to generate and store their own energy, with the aim of developing the business case for V2G technology. As well as helping to manage peaks and troughs in national demand, V2G technology could also help householders earn extra cash by adapting their energy use patterns, the researchers argue.
OVO Energy has partnered with Nissan with the intention of launching a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) offering for private customers buying the latest Nissan LEAF from January 2018.
The V2G offering, enabling drivers to sell energy to the grid from their electric vehicles, will be designed to allow LEAF owners to connect to the grid and charge at a period of low-demand and therefore cheaper tariff periods.
The vehicle’s battery can then be used when costs are higher to power homes and workplaces or fed into the energy system to generate revenue. OVO plans to create special tariffs to reward customers for this interaction with the grid.
Nissan Europe has also entered into a partnership with E.ON which leverages Nissan’s vehicle-to-grid infrastructure and advanced bi-directional charging technology to allow customers to optimize their energy use and costs.