Government-funded Vehicle-to-Grid project completes grid balancing trials

A Government-funded Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) project has successfully participated in a trial aimed at providing real-time control of when and how electric vehicles (EVs) are charged and discharged to help balance the grid.

Government-funded Vehicle-to-Grid project completes grid balancing trials

The VIGIL consortium consists of Aston University

The collaborative research project Vehicle to Grid Intelligent Control (VIGIL) has been funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in partnership with Innovate UK.

It aims to demonstrate how control platforms can be used to harness real-time data that will enable plug-in vehicles to act as a form of distributed energy storage by providing demand-response services to the power grid.

The group has successfully demonstrated at two sites on Aston University campus, which monitored bidirectional power flows between EVs, buildings and electric networks in real-time. The VIGIL programme was able to examine and control the rate at which EVs tapped into the network to either charge or discharge to provide balancing services.

The VIGIL consortium consists of Aston University, ByteSnap Design, Grid Edge and Nortech Management.

ByteSnap Design’s director Dunstan Power said: “We believe that platforms like VIGIL are the future of energy management in tomorrow’s transport infrastructure based on electric vehicles. We already have our first commercial customers for the smart charger control platform we developed and see lots of potential to increase the capabilities of the VIGIL platform with our consortium partners.”

The consortium hopes that the control platform will enable district network operators (DNOs), building owners with onsite renewable technology and EV owners to form local energy communities by receiving information on when to charge and discharge.

V2G growth

V2G is still an emerging area in the smart, flexible energy space, but the technology is rapidly gaining traction among businesses and policymakers.

Plugging electric vehicles (EVs) into the grid could cut £270m a year off the cost of running the UK power system by 2030, according to a study compiled by a consortium of experts including Cenex, Element Energy, Energy Systems Catapult, National Grid ESO, Nissan, Moixa and Western Power Distribution.

The UK Government is investing £20m to support V2G projects, while V2G offerings are now being offered by companies such as OVO Energy.

UK-based V2G uptake seems to be particularly pronounced among local authorities. Earlier this year, Plymouth City Council fitted its existing fleet of Nissan Leafs with bi-directional chargers as part of a joint research project with Cisco, Cenex, Nuve, Imperial, Transport for London and the Greater London Authority.  

Similarly, Nottingham City Council has installed V2G chargers at its Eastcroft waste transfer depot as part of CleanMobilEnergy – a project backed by € 4.29m of EU funding which will utilise various clean energy systems and V2G technologies to support regional EV rollouts.

Matt Mace

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