EVs are stable energy storage asset, says Innovate UK

Innovate UK has brushed aside ongoing fears around using electric and plug-in vehicles as an energy storage facility, insisting they present a "car park of energy storage" for UK network companies after 2025.

Innovate UK’s lead technologist for energy systems Mark Thompson said at a recent storage event that fears that using EV batteries for grid support will rapidly degrade the batteries are unfounded. Innovation projects already undertaken into EV charging reveal the batteries will be accessible to the grid 95 per cent of the time, he added.

Thompson said “a lot of anxiety” around using EVs as energy storage centres on battery recycling, but tests show that using an EV battery to provide 7kW of grid support is equivalent to driving at just 20mph.

Thompson said: “That is a modest amount of power but aggregated would be very useful for a distribution network operator.

“The stress level on that battery of sitting there continually pushing out 7kW compared to a 35 minute journey is a no-brainer, it’s an extremely calm and un-stressful environment for that vehicle.”

He added that car manufacturer Nissan has been “very vocal” on the potential benefits of using EVs for grid support because “there really isn’t an issue compared to the complexities and stresses that the battery goes through for a pretty normal driving scenario”.

VIDEO: Nissan converts Leaf batteries into commercial energy storage — 

Projects such as My Electric Avenue have also revealed that vehicles are sat stationary at either the home or workplace, both potential charging locations, 95 percent of the time making EVs a “stable storage asset”.

Thompson said based on “very modest projections” there could be as many as 300,000 EV or hybrid vehicles on UK roads by 2025, each presenting around 4GW of potential storage to the UK’s electricity system with very little network reinforcement required.

He said: “If we can be clever and come up with the right business models to engage people in moving their charging and allow network operators to have some control, if we can be savvy about that then network investment costs are virtually zero until you are well into the 2020s”.

Lucinda Dann

This article appeared first in edie’s sister title Utility Week

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