EV Grid Pioneers Vehicle-to-Grid Technology
As the electric vehicle market grows, developing charging infrastructure isn't the only challenge in preparing for the gradual transition. Grid operators will need to be prepared for the overload of electricity requirements from all those vehicles.
Tom Gage, who advanced plug-in vehicle technology at AC Propulsion (ACP), is working on that transition. To manage the complications between plug-in vehicles and grid operations, Gage will employ the concept of vehicle-to-grid (V2G), using vehicle batteries as a source of energy storage and vehicle operating systems as a means of managing that storage. Under his start-up, EV Grid, Gage hopes to streamline those interactions.
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For EV Grid, “the big commercialization opportunity,” Gage explained to Green Tech Media, is “vehicle-grid integration,” because “everybody knows if ten people on the block go out and buy a LEAF and they all plug it in at 6 p.m. when they get home, they’re going to have a problem.” Many see this as a liability, Gage said, “but if you manage it properly, it becomes an asset.”
According to Gage, there are three ways to use batteries as grid storage. A warehouse full of batteries can run under the total control of a utility provider, or when the batteries get older and are replaced, the remaining storage capacity they provide can be recycled and used for grid storage. The third alternative is vehicle-to-grid, in which two streams of the battery are being extracted concurrently—one when the car is being driven and the other when it is charging and the battery is on call to the grid.
For electric car owners, that would mean paying less for a battery while sharing it with a utility, essentially creating two revenue streams. Sometime in May, the company will demonstrate a pilot project with the University of Delaware and NRG Energy, including V2G trials and sample business models. If it works, Gage is confident that V2G will benefit the EV market, making the vehicles look more economical.
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?
Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly