Energy on wheels: V2G, renewables and grids

Published on Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The first commercial Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) hub was presented in Copenhagen, Denmark. The innovative recharge system developed by Enel, in a partnership with Nissan e Nuvee, will stabilise the Danish electricity grid.

E-cars beyond mobility. The technologies that enable the use of electricity as a ‘fuel’ for vehicles and means of transportation raise the bar of innovation by turning e-cars and recharge systems into small power plants and micro distribution grids. What makes this possible is Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), the system tested by Enel in a partnership with the Japanese multinational automotive company Nissan and the California-based  Nuvee, a leader in the development of electric car recharge solutions.

Starting from yesterday, August 29th, this experimentation has become a reality within reach of everyone. In fact, the three companies presented the first commercial Vehicle-to-Grid hub in Copenhagen, Denmark. In particular, Enel installed ten V2G units within the Danish utility company Frederiksberg Forsyning, which also bought ten e-NV200, Nissan’s zero emission van.

Basically, a portion of the parking at the Danish operator’s  headquarters has become a centre for electric vehicle recharge, enabling the transformation of vans into electricity plants and network hubs on two wheels, as explained in a video that describes the Danish hub. The zero-emission vans, connected to the Enel V2G units, can receive from or sell energy to the national electricity grid, thus balancing energy loads during generation peaks, especially from renewable sources, and storing surplus electricity that will be fed back into the network when necessary.

In fact, the V2G technology enables the integration of e-cars into the electricity grid, thus optimising the green energy flows that originate from small renewable plants spread throughout the area. The electric vans purchased by the Danish utility company can therefore be used as mobile storage systems that accumulate energy and subsequently transport it where necessary.

The total capacity made available to the ten chargers of the V2G hub – approximately 100 kW – will increase the stability of the Danish National electricity grid, providing power capacity services to the network operator Energinet.dk.

Enel’s Innovation and Sustainability Head Ernesto Ciorra underlined that the hub achieved in Denmark makes a dream come true and turns the commitments made by Enel at the COP21 in Paris tangible, helping to create more sustainable energy services, “a key objective of Enel’s global energy strategy. The V2G is one of the sustainable innovation fields that leads us towards a low-emission society, for the benefit of all present and future generations.”

A story of innovation, or rather, as recalled by Ciorra, “a fairy tale” born almost ten years ago in a garage, just like Steve Jobs’s Apple.

The official debut of the V2G system tested by Enel and Nissan in the mass market version took place in March 2015. Its first practical demonstration is the result of years-long research starting in 2008 within our Smart city Malaga project, while its evolution was first presented within the ZEM2ALL project in 2012.

This process, which revolves around e-mobility, involving tests and continual search for cutting-edge solutions aimed to broaden the eco-system, started long ago. Our company is promoting partnerships with startups, industrial partners and all stakeholders (institutions, universities, organisations and venture capital firms) that are capable of moving towards new development frontiers.

Electric mobility is one of the pillars of our sustainable development strategy. The partnership with Formula E, the Formula 1 for electric cars, also fits into this context. This competition drives innovation to the highest level, in the development of both electric engines and recharge infrastructure. Additionally, it succeeds in bringing together the public at large and these technologies. An objective also pursued by the hub achieved in Denmark, which places the latest advances and the various uses of technologies for electric mobility at the service of the general public.