Generally speaking, electric vehicles (EV) are safer, better for the environment and cheaper to run. But what if, besides getting us from point A to B, they could power our devices, our home, or even our entire neighborhood?
The EV4Energy project, a partnership between IT and MAGNUM CAP, aims to fundamentally change how we produce, supply and use energy, by placing battery-based EVs at the center of the electrical distribution system.
The project enables EVs “to store renewable energy and deliver it to a house, a building, a neighborhood, or to the distribution network itself. But they may also power other devices, such as washing machines, street lighting, or even another electric vehicle”, explains lead researcher Joaquim Ferreira, of IT’s Embedded Systems group in Aveiro.
This Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) ecosystem can simultaneously optimize the energy stored in car batteries and ensure the supply of buildings’ energy needs, through specialized equipment that connects EVs to a wide variety of devices.
“In parallel, this equipment will be able to contribute to the quality of electrical energy in the grid, by automatically and continuously controlling the frequency and power factor in the network”, the researcher adds.
As technology evolves, the idea of households storing energy in their cars or domestic batteries could become a key part of a new, smarter national grid.
If everyone can store electricity, power companies can finally separate supply from demand, producing electricity when it's cheapest and most efficient, or when renewable sources like sunlight or wind are most abundant. Consumers, on the other hand, can store the power at home, ready to use or to supply back to the grid at times of peak demand.
EV4Energy addresses this concept and applies it to different scenarios. “It can be instantiated in a domestic context, in which the household building has two, or more, V2X chargers (and corresponding electric vehicles) and low/moderate photovoltaic power generation, as well as in a business context, in which the building or campus can have tens, hundreds, even thousands of high-powered mixed-generation (photovoltaic and wind) V2X chargers”, said Joaquim Ferreira.
The project is led by MAGNUM CAP - Electrical Power Solutions, whose goal is to promote the world’s transition to clean energies. The Aveiro-based company was founded in 2009 and focuses on manufacturing EV charging systems, energy storage devices, renewables and smart grid integration.