March 30 (Renewables Now) – Hitachi Europe Ltd, Mitsubishi Motors (TYO:7211) and Engie (EPA:ENGI) have launched a project in the Netherlands to study the potential for electric vehicles (EVs) to act as energy storage for office buildings.
As part of the project, a vehicle-to-everything (V2X) charger has been linked to Engie’s office building in Zaandam. The charger, provided by Hitachi, allows for bi-directional charging between the electric car battery and the building or power grid. It is connected to the building’s energy supply and, when the building produces more solar power than it needs, the surplus is stored in the car battery. The stored energy can be discharged back into the grid when needed.
“This charger exceeds smart charging as we know it and is basically the first real ‘smart grid charger,” said Hans Boot, chief operating officer at Engie Services Netherlands.
Mitsubishi Motors is contributing its Outlander PHEV SUV to the project to serve as an energy storage centre.
For the next stage of the project, the partners will look into how EVs, renewable energy and building energy management systems can work in concert to make buildings energy neutral.
According to the announcement, vehicle-to-building (V2B) technology can play a key role in reducing carbon emissions globally.
Solar photovoltaics (PV) has been growing at an exponential rate, more than doubling in the past 3 years to reach over 300 GW of power generation capacity. This has been driven by cost reduction, making rooftop solar more attractive to homeowners, and making utility-scale installations competitive against conventional fossil-fuel power plants.
On the other hand, concentrating solar power (CSP) has experienced less growth. Globally, just 1.5 GW of new CSP capacity became operational from 2015-2017. The United States hasn’t installed any new CSP capacity at all since September 2015 .
Conventional CSP designs use large plant sizes, with large amounts of thermal energy storage, to leverage economies of scale and increase capacity factor. This makes sense as a strategy to minimize the cost of generating electricity on a per-kWh basis, but it doesn’t consider the value of the electricity provided by the plant, or the resulting profitability of the plant. Further, large plant sizes require huge capital investments (>$1B). This limits conventional CSP to only utility-scale markets increases financial risk and doesn’t allow CSP to progress by learning through iteration (like PV has done).
So if CSP is falling behind now, what can be done with CSP in the future?
The primary benefit of CSP is that with low-cost thermal energy storage, it can provide high-value electricity, and out-compete batteries for renewable generation when the sun isn’t shining (thermal energy storage cost is near 20 $/kWh, while batteries are unlikely to drop below 150 $/kWh [3-5]). This is certainly important for utilities that are concerned with grid reliability as PV grows (have you heard of the “Duck Curve”? ), but could also provide a more reliable source of electricity for micro-grids or other applications with smaller electricity demands.
The companies linked what they claim is the first ‘vehicle to everything’ EV charger to energy firm ENGIE’s office in Zaandam, with the aim of providing grid flexibility services and boosting the overall energy efficiency of the building.
The project used Hitachi’s V2X Charger, which the global electronics and engineering company claims is the first EV recharging technology able to both power up an electric car as well as discharge the energy back into a building or grid via a variety of different routes.
It is also possible to connect solar panels and external energy storage directly to the V2X Charger “allowing a much more efficient electricity supply to buildings”, Hitachi explained.
The V2X Charger is connected to the building’s energy supply and, when the building generates more solar power than it needs, this excess energy is stored in the battery of the electric car, the consortium explained.
The resulting energy can then be discharged back into the grid when appropriate, and the car battery therefore acts as an energy storage source, as well as an emergency power supply.
Vincent Cobee, corporate vice president at Mitsubishi Motors, said the aim of the project was to show how EVs and plug in hybrid vehicles could be a “vital” component of urban energy systems. “This demonstration will help providing a new energy solution for energy efficient, low carbon smart buildings,” he said.
Buildings and transport together currently account for around 75 per cent of the total carbon emissions of services-focused companies, according to the three firms.
The new research is the cover story of the March 23 issue of ACS Applied Nano Materials.
“Rust will always pose a challenge in Earth’s humid and oxygenated atmosphere,” said Julio M. D’Arcy, assistant professor of chemistry in Arts & Sciences and a member of the university’s Institute of Materials Science and Engineering. “Corrosion makes structures fragile and decreases the ability of components to function properly. But in our lab, we’ve learned how to control the growth of rust so that it can serve an important purpose.”
Conducting polymers rely on a combination of organic and inorganic materials—usually a core of metal and a shell of plastic—made in a single batch.
D’Arcy and his team reported on a new technique that combines vapor-phase synthesis with solution-based hydrolysis to build three-dimensional nanoflowers, two-dimensional nanoplates and one-dimensional nanofibers.
This work advances the understanding of the chemical mechanisms involved with depositing the rust and forming the polymer, which will allow scientists to more easily manipulate and engineer the structures of the materials they make.
Flow batteries haven’t been around as long as lithium or lead acid batteries, but everyone, it seems, has heard of them, ever since the technology came down to earth from a NASA programme a few decades back and into ‘civilian’ and corporate hands. It’s been predicted for some time that the redox flow energy storage space will, after some turmoil and rapid consolidation, find success in providing energy storage at durations of more than four hours. This past couple of weeks have been a tale of both turmoil and success.
A cautionary tale
All the way back in 2014 as this site was just starting out, we wrote about American Vanadium, a company which at the time was essentially prospecting for ‘billions’, finding raw materials in the Nevada Desert, long before Tesla’s lithium Gigafactory was ironically chosen to be put there.
American Vanadium, which was actually incorporated in Canada, also had a sales agreement to distribute German manufacturer Gildemeister’s CellCube energy storage units, thought to be one of the first commercially available flow batteries. AV’s boss Bill Radvak was the first to blog for this site, also in 2014, on the potential of energy storage to transform New York’s energy future as CellCube demonstration units got installed for the Metropolitan Transport Authority. The CEO also managed to get onto various tv spots to tout the advantages of flow batteries.
As we speak, American Vanadium is no longer called American Vanadium. It’s called Monitor Ventures, and its website says it is “seeking a new business venture that has significant growth potential”. So it turned out the dream of building a vertically integrated company to revolutionise energy storage – and don’t forget that never mind the Gigafactory, this was before Powerwall was even launched – built on a technology that even now in 2018 is still finding its feet in the market, didn’t work out for Radvak and co.
According to the new market research report “Battery Energy Storage System Market by Element (Battery, Hardware), Battery Type (Lithium-Ion, Advanced Lead Acid, Flow Batteries, Sodium Sulfur), Connection Type (On-Grid And Off-Grid), Ownership, Application, and Geography – Global Forecast to 2023“, published by MarketsandMarkets™, the market is expected to grow from USD 1.98 Billion in 2018 to reach USD 8.54 Billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 33.9% between 2018 and 2023. Factors that are driving the growth of the market include the increasing demand for grid-connected solutions, high demand for the lithium-ion technology in the renewable energy industry, and declining prices of lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries to hold largest size of the battery energy storage system market throughout the forecast period
The lithium-ion batteries have a long lifespan of 5-15 years, and up to 98% efficiency (i.e., only 2% of electrical charge is lost during use). The lithium-ion batteries have very high energy and power densities, which leads to lower weight with low standby losses, and high life expectancy. Lithium-ion batteries continue to hold a large size of the battery energy storage system market owing to its features such as high energy density, self-discharge capability, low maintenance requirement, less weight, and high life expectancy.
Utility-owned battery energy storage system held a major share of the market in 2017
The utility-owned ownership type held the major share of the battery energy storage system market in 2017. The ability of the utility-owned battery energy storage systems to manage large energy requirements during peak hours is supporting the adoption of these systems. According to the Energy Storage Association, US, the utility-based battery storage installed capacity grew by 221 MW in 2016. This shows the high dependence of the customers on the utility-owned battery storage systems for their energy requirements.
Aggreko-owned storage system experts Younicos claimed first place in the pv magazine Energy Storage Highlights award. Alexander Schönfeldt, the company’s VP sales EMEA, describes this award-winning concept and reveals more details about Younicos’ new rental storage system.
For the Energy Storage Europe Exhibition and Conference held in Düsseldorf, Germany in mid-March, pv magazineteamed up with Messe Düsseldorf to produce a 32-page storage special issue that led with a prestigious Energy Storage Highlights Award.
The idea of the plant is, as Schönfeldt says, to give aged gas plants a second life via the support of battery storage. “It enables plant owners to respond to requirements in the market with the battery, and for the gas engine to respond in the capacity market with secondary reserve.”
At the Energy Storage Europe Exhibition, Younicos was also showcasing its new rental storage-as-a-service model, which Schönfeldt described as an innovative way to “unlock the storage market in a way that customer’s do not have to worry about investment hurdles or technology risk.”
After Tesla’s massive plan to create a 50,000-home virtual power plant with Powerwalls being in jeopardy in Australia, another similar project is now been announced for a new ‘virtual power plant’.
New Premier of South Australia, Steven Marshall, a member of the Liberal party who just replaced the Labor party, threw some cold water on the project, which is so far still going forward with the first 1,100 installations, but it could face some red tapes for the other 49,000 installations.
But now the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced $7.7 million in funding for Simply Energy to build a second virtual power plant across Adelaide.
Like for Tesla’s own virtual power plant, Simply Energy confirmed that it plans to use Tesla’s Powerwall 2.
They described the project in a press release today:
“The $23 million project will deliver Tesla Powerwall 2 home batteries to up to 1200 Adelaide households representing 6 MW of residential energy storage. A further 2 MW of demand response capacity will be deployed across 10 commercial businesses.”
The goal is to have it up and running by the end of 2019.
It’s on a much smaller scale than the previous project, but ARENA is treating like a pilot project.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said about this project:
“We think consumer energy resources have a huge role to play in Australia’s energy future, but we are still figuring out how we can orchestrate rooftop solar and home batteries to feed back into the grid. This is technically hard to do, which is why these pilot projects are so important,” he said. “This is a potential model for how distributed energy resources can be operated at large scale in the future to help reduce energy prices,”
The project has the goal to lower the energy bill of families with the batteries while also stabilizing the grid by reducing peak power demand with the large energy storage capacity.
Earlier this month, the 800 megawatt Bay State Wind offshore project being developed jointly by Ørsted and Eversource off the coast of Massachusetts announced a deal which will see it work with local NEC Energy Solutions to develop an energy storage solution for the offshore wind farm.
Ørsted, one of the world’s leading offshore wind companies, and Eversource, New England’s premier transmission builder, announced on March 16 that their Bay State Wind partnership had signed a Letter of Intent to work collaboratively with Massachusetts-based NEC Energy Solutions so as to develop an energy storage solution for the 800 megawatt (MW) Bay State Wind. Specifically, they are looking to combine the offshore wind farm with a 55 MW/110 MW-hour (MWh) energy storage option, which upon completion would result in the world’s largest wind-paired energy storage system for commercial-scale energy.
Bay State Wind was first announced back in December of 2016 by then-DONG Energy (now Ørsted) and Eversource. At the time it was proposed, it was a 2 gigawatt (GW) offshore wind farm, which remains the end-goal but appears will be developed in stages, starting with 800 MW. Located 15 to 25 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, the final 2 GW is expected to be able to generate clean electricity enough for a million homes.
The new agreement signed earlier this month serves to not only make the Bay State Wind project a potential world-first but also acts to support and promote Massachusetts’ energy storage market.
The energy industry is evolving towards more ‘enterprise platform’-based business models, enabling energy storage to play a vital role for businesses and the grid, NEC Energy Solutions (NEC ES) CEO Steve Fludder has said.
NEC ES, the NEC Corporation’s energy storage system integration and technology business, relies increasingly on machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Fludder said in an interview and presentation at last month’s Energy Storage Summit in London. Fludder took over as CEO in November, replacing temporary boss Hiro Ezawa, who in turn replaced longstanding leader Budd Collins.
These IT capabilities not only give NEC ES and its partners better visibility into system operation, Fludder said, but they also enable the company and others like it to capture value across the whole marketplace, making an analogy with the way that online retail giant Amazon uses predictive analytics to stock its strategically-located warehouses with the goods returning customers are most likely to purchase.
“This concept is actually happening around us all the time. You have cars that can tell you when they need to go in to be serviced, for example. I’m quite interested in the Amazon analogy, because that’s something that touches everyone every day. How do they do that? If they did that by building up massive amounts of inventory of everything that’s on sale on their site, they would never make money,” Fludder told Energy-Storage.News.