Nuvve Looks to Help Electric Vehicle Owners Profit

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Technology that allows electrical vehicle owners to sell back power from their batteries to the grid




Progress in solving future strain on the energy grid


California-based start up Nuvve is looking into the future and considering electric vehicles as more than just a renewable source of transportation. By creating the technology and infrastructure, they are making the vehicle-to-grid (V2G) concept a reality. This means that either electrical vehicles (EVs) or plug-in hybrids communicate with the power grid to create demand response services by sending electricity into the grid. There are two ways to make this possible, either by demand dispatch or smart charging, staging their charging, or by using the vehicle battery to provide ancillary grid services.

The technology, created at the University of Delaware, was developed in the hopes of forming what they call a small “virtual storage network” through the aggregation of multiple EVs. To be more specific, the particular innovation is in the server connecting the EVs to the grid operator, acting as a go-between with the EV batteries and the power market. Because of EVs are parked an estimated 95% of the time, the battery is able to charge and discharge from the grid in response to requests from a grid system operator. From this point, the charging of the battery can be either delayed, charged at varying speeds, or even contribute small amounts of power to the system. When these capabilities are combined on a larger scale, Nuvve believes that there is enough energy capacity to contribute back into ancillary service markets, thus producing a revenue stream for the vehicle owner.

After testing their technology in Denmark, Nuuve found that this ability to sell back power from their batteries to the grid could provide compensation to owners of up to $10,000 over the life span of the car. The decision for utilities in Denmark to look into this technology was driven by the future potential strain EVs might put on the power grid. “Right now, the grid has no trouble handling the relatively low number of EVs in operation, but in the long term, they are going to be a negative impact on the grid unless we charge them intelligently. That’s why we’re now taking a very close look at Nuvve’s interesting set-up,” said Søren Sørensen, CEO of NRGi, the fourth largest utility in Denmark.

Drew Nitschke is a first-year graduate student at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, working towards degree in Environmental Economics and Policy. He is especially interested in sustainability and how it relates to business of all sizes. He graduated from UCLA in June 2012 after...
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