Innovative charger sparked by world class research

A traditional car charging point
Image: Flickr, Open Grid SchedulerA traditional car charging point Image: Flickr, Open Grid Scheduler

One of the first “vehicle to grid” chargers have been installed at Newcastle University in collaboration with Enol and Nissan. 

The innovative charger allows energy to travel both to and from the car’s battery so that Electric Vehicles (EVs) can evolve to become mobile storage systems.

Professor Phil Taylor, Siemens professor of energy systems at the University, said: “The use of electric vehicles helps stabilise the [electric] grid.

“As we get more and more electric vehicles connected to our system, what we can do is, rather than just charging them up for us to drive around, we can actually use those electric vehicles to export energy back into our grid and stabilise it.”

In turn, this will help to “de-carbonise” the grid at a lower cost.

Newcastle University was not the first place to have the chargers installed, following  Nissan’s Cranfield Research Facility last year.

Nissan announced the first stages of the plan in May last year.

In that announcement, the company also revealed that 100 private and fleet owners of Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 van vehicles would be selected to participate in the trial, which would allow owners to sell spare electricity in their vehicle’s battery back to the national grid.

Paul Willcox, chairman at Nissan Europe, claimed that the project would “shape the futures of industries, cities and societies”.

Nissan has claimed that if the “vehicle to grid” chargers were to be fully integrated into everyday life, over £2.4 billion could be saved in electricity costs by 2030.

The company also aims to develop 100 of these units in the UK.

It is estimated that there will need to be over two million electric vehicles in use in the UK to meet the 2030 projection to achieve maximum energy efficiency.

The project will be based at Science Central, a £300 million project at the heart of Newcastle, which provides a “test-bed for sustainable, urban development”.

Science Central works alongside Newcastle City Council and creates extra 4,000 jobs and 2,000 family homes using some of the developed technologies.

The announcement of the plans comes as Damian Hinds, Employment Minister, visits the North East to mark the latest release of labour market figures.

Hinds will be touring Newcastle University’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and meeting the leaders of this project.

He said: “Newcastle University’s work is a strong example of the UK’s world-class leadership in global science and research.”

He announced that extra £2 billion a year will be spent on research in order “to keep us ahead of the game and support the jobs of the future.”

The project could also benefit students as the university has established a number of partnerships with respected companies, such as Siemens, who provide fantastic employment opportunities to students.

Nissan itself is currently taking around 15 people a month to work in its factory or supply chain and those chosen will benefit from a two-week training course to gain experience.

It said that an affordable and reliable flow of electricity is key to power society in 2017.

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