Cross-sector electric vehicle project targets energy-neutral office buildings
Companies from the energy, transport and technology sectors have joined forces to explore how electric vehicles (EVs) can facilitate energy storage solutions that link up to onsite renewable installations and building energy management systems (BEMS) on office buildings.
Energy company ENGIE, motor firm Mitsubishi and technology and battery developers Hitachi Europe are working together to create the “vehicle-to-everything” (V2X) charger and connect it to ENGIE’s office building in Zaandam in the Netherlands.
The V2X charger, developed by Hitachi, can be used to recharge EVs and also discharge energy back into buildings or to grids at different flexibilities and frequencies. These chargers can also connect to solar panels and external storage systems to ensure a renewable electricity supply when charging the vehicle or powering the building.
For the next stage of the project, the companies will explore how EVs and BEMS can work together to develop energy-neutral buildings, with each office building acting as a self-sufficient microgrid. According to the companies involved, the developed infrastructure will help lower emissions and save on energy costs.
Hitachi Europe’s chief digital officer Ram Ramachander said: “This project demonstrates how our IoT and digital capabilities can help customers make buildings energy-neutral, increasing their energy efficiency and reducing costs, by optimising EV charging infrastructure.
“Our technology can also help to create new business cases across the EV value chain, including vehicle to grid technology, which enables flexibility with their energy distribution”.
None of the companies have released much information on how the V2X charger will differ from other bi-directional chargers, such as the one developed by Nissan, other than the variety of flexible responses it can provide.
Nissan’s bi-directional chargers enable users to draw energy from the grid to charge a car or van or sell surplus energy back. In fact, Nissan will trial and assess microgrid systems across Europe in 2018, to examine how local communities can gain access to sustained energy sources.
Elsewhere, Honda has teamed up with other firms, local bodies and academic institutions for a new project that aims to demonstrate the business case for Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technologies across the UK.
Discussing the automotive sector’s growing involvement in developing smart, integrated solutions for energy consumption and storage, Mitsubishi’s corporate vice president Vincent Cobee added: “This demonstration will help providing a new energy solution for energy efficient, low carbon smart buildings. We are aiming to show that EVs and PHEVs can be a vital component of urban energy in the future.”