MAGNUM CAP and Coimbra university,
demonstrating V2G technology.

For MAGNUM CAP, connecting with universities is essential. MAGNUM CAP benefits from innovative knowledge and research, and in turn the university can better understand the needs and priorities of this sector so that it can respond with tailored and specialized training.

With this approach, we are developing together with the University of Coimbra the V2G demonstrator project.

 This project project is co-financed by the Portugal 2020 program and the European Union through the Centro 2020 fund.

We went talking with Professor Aníbal Traça de Almeida about this project.

Why are you interested in V2G?

In 2001 I evaluated a proposal from the University of Delaware, from Professor Kempton, who originally proposed V2G technology and at the time found a very innovative concept: Taking advantage of an asset – The car – which is typically parked most of the time and can provide better quality of service in the electricity grid without the need for large investments.

Imagine when we reach a high universe of V2G-capable vehicles,  they can work as a flexible storage and when the network needs support, these vehicles can provide this service by injecting the necessary energy. – A very innovative concept.

Almost 20 years have passed, and it has taken time for battery technology to develop and reach the point where we are today in terms of cost and durability. Currently we already have vehicles with good autonomies, in the order of 400 km and the tendency is that these values continue to increase. Over the next few years, most models released to the market will surely have batteries above 60 kWh and it is with this kind of capacity that the potential for interaction and attraction begins to work.

In islands with short and controlled routes, the rational to make the battery available may be even greater.

V2G is a very interesting technology to introduce and encourage the growth of renewable and intermittent energy production, with storage in vehicles and availability to the network when needed.

In Portugal, both solar and wind already have a significant weight, with growth at a good pace in the coming decades. We are making the transition from fossil fuels to electricity, especially renewable ones, and when we add V2G technology, we are putting the storage capacity into the equation – the integration of renewable energy is made easier with this type of technology.

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Are we no longer backing up  the grid with coal-fired power plants ?

Coal-fired power plants in Portugal are expected to close between 2020-2030, what we will need is combined-cycle power plants.

Once we have storage in reversible hydraulics, or using V2G technology, even combined cycle power plants will be less in demand.

Electric vehicles are therefore a backup  “on the move”, of the network …

Exactly.

What is the purpose and objectives of Demonstrating V2G technology at the University of Coimbra ?

The purpose is to rehearse the use of technology in the university building, on the other hand to look at the chargers and help make them as efficient as possible. These chargers must have a high efficiency in the exchange flow.  Energy losses should be avoided, making them as efficient as possible. The technology itself is evolving and the power electronics is already at a stage that allows for major performance improvements. Our perspective is to support MAGNUM CAP in the development of efficient solutions.

What is considered a good performance goal?

That the equipment in the exchange streams has a efficiency of at least 90%.

Is there room for improvement?

Yes. From the tests we did, there are improvements that can be implemented.

If we think that a reversible hydro has an efficiency of about 80%, if we get to 95% efficiency  in V2G we have more efficient systems with a much lower investment cost, besides that the batteries have a fast response they don’t have the heating time of thermal plants so accommodating peak consumption is much faster with V2G.

V2G has all the ingredients to be a technology with a future ahead.

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