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ROUNDUP: PG&E and GM trial V2H solution, Greener Power buys 8.5MWh of mobile BESS, INTILION launches fire protection for storage

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14 March 2022: Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and General Motors (GM) pilot vehicle-to-home (V2G) battery solution

Investor-owned utility PG&E and automative giant GM are collaborating to pilot the use of GM electric vehicles (EVs) as on-demand power sources for homes in PG&E’s service areas.

The pair will test vehicles with bidirectional charging technology that can help power the essential needs of residential homes, with the first pilot lab test completed by this summer. They will then seek to conduct larger, customer location trials by the end of 2022, with the ultimate aim to develop a user-friendly customer experience for the novel technology.

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“Imagine a future where everyone is driving an electric vehicle—and where that EV serves as a backup power option at home and more broadly as a resource for the grid. Not only is this a huge advancement for electric reliability and climate resiliency, it’s yet another advantage of clean-powered EVs, which are so important in our collective battle against climate change,” said PG&E Corporation CEO Patti Poppe.

The bidirectional hardware will include software-defined communications protocols that will enable power to flow from the EV to the home, automatically coordinating between the EV, home, and PG&E’s electric supply.

GM says that by end-2025 it will have more than 1 million units of EV capacity in North America. This could be equivalent to 50-100TWh of maximum stored energy based on a typical car battery pack size.

GM’s competitor Ford announced a similar trial last month in partnership with Sunrun, a US solar company. It claimed its F-150 electric truck is the first to offer the ability to provide power to a home during an electric outage, using the Ford Intelligent Backup Power platform.

While not exactly the same, V2H uses the same underlying technological solution as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) whereby EVs act as distributed energy resources (DERs) on the grid. However, the latter is beset by issues around carmarkers’ warranties on the battery life, car owners’ reluctant to share their battery with the grid, as well as regulatory complications.

15 March 2022: Greener Power Solutions buys 8.5MWh of mobile BESS

Dutch mobile battery energy storage system (BESS) solution provider Greener Power Solutions has ordered another 20 mobile battery units from supplier Alfen, bringing its total fleet to 60 with plans to increase that to 80 by the end of the year.

The new units supply 422 kWh in capacity, 25% higher than its existing units, and up to 318 kVA in power. In total, the new order represents 8.5MWh of new energy.

Greener Power rents out mobile BESS units for use at events, infrastructure projects, EV charging stations or even grid maintenance projects where standalone power is needed. The company has developed its own energy management system (EMS) software.

It claims to have now saved a total of 1 million litres of diesel through its activity, with diesel generators the thing it will typically be replacing. It also had the added benefit of not producing the noise pollution that generators do.

14 March 2022: Intilion launches fire protection feature for storage

Intilion, the lithium-ion energy storage arm of Germany’s Hoppecke battery company, has launched what it says is the first indoor commercial energy storage with a fire protection housing solution.

It claims it is the world’s first manufacturer to offer the option of a fire protection housing for an indoor energy storage system, its scalestac commercial LFP-based energy storage system. “We are making our scalestac the safest indoor commercial storage system available on the international market,” product manager Martin Peters claimed.

It says that if a cell catches fire, its fire protection housing solution prevents the fire from propagating to the entire system. It already offers such a fire protection for its medium-size scalebloc and large grid-scale scalecube products.

In a more detailed product manual for the scalebloc product, the company says that its fire protection housing is a mechanism housing for battery modules with prismatic cells. According to the manual, when heat flows through a cell with the risk of propagating to other cells, the housing ensures that:

  • resulting gases do not lead to an explosion or self-ignite as a result of the flying sparks from the lithium-ion cells
  • flying sparks are prevented
  • surrounding battery modules are protected from propagation

It says that this means its BESS fulfils the requirements of the German application guide VDE-AR-E 2510-50 for stationary storage systems with lithium-ion batteries.

The scalestac was launched in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in June last year and ranges from 25 kVA to 400 kVA of power with a capacity from 123 kWh to 1 MWh. The charging and discharging power can be selected from 0.3C to 2C. It says the system is for “public utilities, municipalities, industrial companies, businesses and farmers”.

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