A UK-first vehicle-to-grid (V2G) demonstrator project has launched this week in Nottingham.
Installation of solar panels, battery storage and 40 bi-directional electric vehicle charging units mark the completion of the CleanMobilEnergy pilot at Nottingham City Council’s Eastcroft Depot.
Funded by Interreg North-West Europe (an EU-funded programme), with a contribution from Innovate UK (part of the UK Government’s Research and Innovation agency), the V2G pilot will show how technology can be used to improve energy demands caused by changing fleet from traditional internal combustion engines to electric vehicles (EV).
This pilot aims to maximise the use of renewable energy that is generated locally by using the batteries and the 40 V2G vehicles for short-term storage of the electricity generated by the solar panels at the depot.
Monitored by a purpose-built Energy Management System, the bi-directional charging units can send power back to the buildings on the depot or to the grid during peak times, balancing the demand of electricity and reducing energy costs.
Cllr Sally Longford, Portfolio Holder for Energy, Environment and Waste Services, said:
“We are racing towards becoming the first carbon-neutral city in the UK by 2028. Switching our fleet to electric vehicles allows us to reduce our carbon emissions, but it brings challenges around our energy supply to charge these vehicles.
“The vehicle-to-grid pilot is allowing us to explore innovative ways to bring renewable technologies, energy storage and intelligent management systems together to test solutions which could be rolled out in other areas of the country.”
Across the depot, solar arrays with a combined generation of 176kWp will allow Nottingham City Council to use clean energy to charge the growing electric vehicle fleet. 51% of the council’s vehicles are powered by electricity, including six bin lorries, road sweepers and vans.
Each of the giant batteries that have been installed for the project is made from 24 used EV batteries.
These batteries are no longer sufficient for car journeys, but they have plenty of life left in them for energy storage.
The giant batteries have a combined storage of 600kWh, which is enough to power the average UK household for two months.
“Becoming a carbon-neutral city needs a huge step change, and we will need to explore innovative technologies to help us reach our ambitious target. It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to find solutions to charging electric vehicles which are sustainable by using renewable energy and recycled batteries,” says Cllr Longford.
Nottingham City Council has built a reputation for innovative low-carbon projects, having recently completed a trial for wireless electric taxi charging and being the first city in the UK to use the Energiesprong whole-house retrofit approach.
Wayne Bexton, Director of Environment and Sustainability, said:
“The installation of the batteries concludes the infrastructure side of a remarkable project that enables energy from solar panels to be stored and sold back into the grid at the most lucrative times of day.
“As a demonstrator microgrid, it means we are less reliant on energy from the national grid to power our electric vehicles, helping us save money, save carbon and work towards carbon neutrality. I am extremely proud of the team working on this and thankful to our funders Interreg NW Europe and Innovate UK.”