University of Delaware and NRG Energy mark major milestone in electric vehicle-to-grid technology

By Editor


Greentech Lead America: The University of Delaware and NRG Energy have proved for the first time that electric vehicle-to-grid technology can sell electricity from electric vehicles (EVs) to the power grid.

The milestone was achieved as part of the eV2g project by University of Delaware and NRG Energy supported by the government and industry leaders.

The University and NRG began work in September 2011 to move from research results to prepare to commercialize the technology, which provides a two-way interface between EVs and the power grid that enables vehicle owners to sell electricity back to the grid while they are charging their EVs.

On Feb. 27, the project became an official participant in the PJM’s frequency regulation market. Frequency regulations are used to balance supply and demand on the grid second-by-second. Since then, the project has been selling power services from a fleet of EVs to PJM, whose territory has 60 million people in the 13 mid Atlantic states.

“Moving innovative ideas out of the classroom and into the marketplace is critical to growing our economy,” said Delaware Governor Jack Markell. “The partnership between NRG and University of Delaware perfectly illustrates the potential for research institutions to spur economic development.”

The project demonstrates that EVs can provide both mobility and stationary power while helping making the grid more resilient and ultimately generating revenue for electric vehicle owners. It will also accelerate the development of clean energy technologies that will deliver for the economy, consumers, security and sustainability.

A key aspect of the technology is that it can aggregate power from multiple electric vehicles to create one larger power resource, rather than individual, smaller ones. Additional company partnerships that make up the entire system shown today include BMW AG providing the EVs, Milbank Manufacturing providing charging stations based on UD technology, AutoPort Inc. installing UD control technology into the EVs and others.

For grid operators, the technology serves as an innovative new approach to energy storage. It has the potential to balance the power provided by intermittent renewable resources such as wind and solar. Energy storage, such as large-scale batteries or those in a fleet of vehicles, can take the wind’s power generated at night and store it to use when demand is higher.

The technology is expected to initially help managers of commercial EV fleets by providing revenue while the vehicles are parked, with individual EV owners to eventually follow. The system is currently in development with restricted test fleets and is not now a commercial offering.

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