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UK project seeks to turn car park into large-scale energy storage battery

Net-Form will be the sixth V2G project Cenex has contributed to. Credit: BMW
Net-Form will be the sixth V2G project Cenex has contributed to. Credit: BMW

A new project is set to test the feasibility of turning a UK car park into a MW-scale battery to provide power on demand to the electricity grid from electric vehicles.

Part funded by Innovate UK, the year-long Net-Form project in Solihull will develop a secure data management platform that collects, aggregates and optimises energy collected from grid-connected EVs at a single location.

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It will evaluate the opportunity to provide a managed charging service and income to EV owners who could provide access to their vehicles via a secure mobile application.

Working in partnership with Encraft, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Costain PLC, Aston University and Western Power Distribution (WPD), Cenex has been selected to offer guidance on vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology and work with EV owners.

Robert Evans, chief executive at Cenex, said: “Cenex is excited to join the team leading this innovative vehicle-to-grid research project.  This feasibility study targets consumer engagement, a key building block in understanding how to operationalise vehicle-to-grid operation in the UK. 

“We think this project will have some interesting outputs that will help shape the way EV owners interact with V2G in the future.”

Net-Form will be the sixth V2G project Cenex has contributed to, however, the research centre says it is unique in that it integrates and analyses diverse sets of data and time-sensitive information to optimise the energy system in a non-invasive way.

Linda Forbes, Encraft’s commercial and innovation projects manager, added: “The Net-Form project will yield results that inform how EVs, smart ICT systems and big data can work together to manage and direct energy flows in support of a low carbon economy.”

V2G technology remains in its infancy as a number of barriers to deployment have yet to be overcome, such as the potential for less energy to be stored within the vehicle than when it was left by the driver or the increased number of cycles an EV’s battery undergoes.

However, increased forecasts for EV market penetration has led some to point out the looming impact electrification of transport is likely to have on the grid. Speaking at last week's Energy Storage Summit, Sam Goss, investment director for energy at Octopus, claimed the impact of EVs is “being relatively ignored”, adding that they could repressent roughly 1GWh of batteries to the system.

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