Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy minister Richard Harrington released the funds for a large-scale demonstrator targeting 1000 Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) installations that will evaluate its effectiveness with electric vehicle fleet customers. The chargers will be controlled by an aggregator and data will be collected to understand the technical characteristics of vehicle to grid charging for both the vehicles and the electricity networks.
A consortium, led by Sunderland based motor manufacturer Nissan, will bring together expertise from across the whole Vehicle-to-Grid value chain: These include V2G infrastructure aggregator provider Nuvve, the energy community represented by National Grid and two Distribution Network Operators - UK Power Networks and Northern Powergrid. The research and analysis activities will be supported by Newcastle University and Imperial College London.
Francisco Carranza, Managing Director of Nissan Energy at Nissan Europe said: "We now look at our cars as so much more than products which simply move people from A to B – they are an intrinsic part of the way we consume, share, and generate energy. This will have a fundamental impact on the shift from fossil fuels to renewables.
"Our EVs can be plugged into the grid and support the transmission and distribution companies in making the UK grid more sustainable and more stable. The increase of electric vehicles penetration, the introduction of more and more distributed generation and storage and the overall increase in renewable energy penetration should be done smartly."
Private owners and businesses with large EV fleets will have the opportunity to create mobile energy hubs by integrating their vehicles into the grid. Connecting to the grid to charge the battery during low-demand, cheap tariff periods, drivers will have the option to then use the electricity stored in the vehicle’s battery to feed back to the grid which could generate additional revenue for the EV owner.
Myriam Neaimeh, Newcastle University’s project lead, said the announcement would be “a real game changer as we move towards decarbonising the grid.”
“This will be the first, large scale demonstration of vehicle to grid technology anywhere in the world,” she said.
“Using these V2G chargers that allow bi-directional power flows, customers could offer their EVs to support a reliable and cost-effective operation of the power system in exchange for lower bills. The aim of e4Future is to identify and help overcome barriers to make this vision a reality. If successful, this project will be a game changer for both the transport and electricity sectors.”
At the moment the number of EVs is too low to have a significant impact and it is estimated there will need to be more than two million electric vehicles on the UK’s roads if commitments to reducing carbon emissions by 2030 are to be met.
Assuming half of these are plugged into the grid using a 10kW V2G charger, and each EV battery can store 40kWh, then this offers a potential energy storage resource of approximately 40GWh and around 10GW of power capacity– significantly bigger than any energy storage system currently installed or planned.
“Clearly drivers aren’t going to want to clock out of work and find they can’t get home because the battery has been drained,” Neaimeh says. “So the system can be programmed and controlled through an aggregator platform, developed by NUVVE, to ensure the battery is charged and ready to go.
“With an extensive charging infrastructure at work and at home, the whole process can start anytime the vehicle is plugged into the grid for a long period of time.”
Claire Spedding, Head of Business Development at National Grid said: "V2G technology presents a great opportunity to support the growth of electric vehicles and manage the anticipated increase in electricity demand. Energy stored in electric vehicles can be fed back into the electricity network to help manage the network at times of high demand and be an additional tool for operating Great Britain's electricity system.
"One thousand chargers will be installed over the next 3 years across the electricity networks. Part of the demonstration project will include assessing whether EV owners are incentivised enough financially to provide power back to the grid when required, and help determine if any regulatory or policy interventions are required.'
Ian Cameron, Head of Innovation at UK Power Networks said: "Electric vehicles are effectively energy resources on wheels, so there are tremendous opportunities to explore how electricity networks can utilise any spare capacity in those batteries to benefit our customers. As fleet operators weigh up the move towards converting to low emission vehicles, this technology could see fleets generating an additional income stream from Distribution System Operator flexibility markets while they are parked in depots and car parks. Selling electricity back to the network could help boost the business case for major operators, making the large-scale adoption of electric vehicles more viable".
Private EV owners and businesses with large EV fleets will have the opportunity to create mobile energy hubs by integrating their vehicles into the grid. Nissan EV owners can connect to the grid to charge at low-demand, cheap tariff periods, with an option to then use the electricity stored in the vehicle's battery to feed back to the grid which could generate additional revenue for the EV owner.
Myriam Neaimeh, Newcastle University’s project lead, added :"Crucially, this project is highly collaborative, bringing together for the first time participants from typically disconnected sectors– a giant of the automotive industry with electricity network operators, energy services providers and academics - so we can work together to really make this happen.”