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Xcel Energy Announces Six-Month Test of V2G and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Six plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) will be on the road by the end of 2007 as part of a demonstration test of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology by Xcel Energy. The project, which will convert six Ford Escape Hybrids to PHEVs equipped with V2G technology so each can charge and discharge power to and from the grid, is one of the nation’s first real-world demonstrations of the V2G technology.

With operations in eight states, Xcel Energy will study how the vehicles perform in varied geographic regions and climates over a six-month period. Three company employees will serve as test drivers, using three of the PHEVs in typical home settings. The remaining three PHEVs will be used in the company’s fleet.

With every US home connected to the electricity grid, vehicle-to-grid technology could be key to meeting our growing energy needs. This project will allow us to explore how PHEVs can become an integrated part of a ‘smart house’ and our vision of the smart grid energy system of the future—one that allows customers and utilities to work together to balance the power grid, lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve our nation’s energy security.

—Michael Lamb, executive director of Xcel Energy Utility Innovations

Xcel Energy’s demonstration will build on its previous PHEV impact study by examining how drivers—and their vehicles—will react and perform in real-world settings. The project will explore the potential benefits of widespread PHEV use including: reducing petroleum-related emissions and greenhouse gases, enhancing energy security by reducing dependence on foreign oil, improving the reliability and cost-effectiveness of the electricity grid, exploring ways to make PHEVs more accessible and lowering vehicle fuel costs.

The project is a joint collaboration between Xcel Energy; Hybrids Plus Inc. in Boulder, Colo.; V2Green Inc. in Seattle, Wash.; and the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo.

Hybrids Plus (earlier post) will replace the cars’ nickel-metal hydride batteries with a 12 kWh lithium-ion phosphate battery pack using 26650 cells from A123Systems for the base conversion to a plug-in hybrid.

To make the cars V2G capable, each will be equipped with a V2Green Connectivity Module that controls vehicle charging, collects data and communicates via a cellular modem (earlier post); and an Inverger (a 6-kilowatt inverter and charger in a single unit) from Hybrids Plus. V2Green will also supply server software enabling remote control of smart charging and V2G functions.

By outfitting the vehicles with these components, Xcel Energy can remotely control the battery cycles in each vehicle by requesting that each postpones charging or begins discharging energy back to the electricity grid.

Resources

Comments

q

jack,

If they don't start ICEs then utilities won't get much energy (see pervious post). Without ICEs there is not enough energy to bother with this entire scheme.

SM

V2G seems like just another mis-information campaign to confuse/complicate progress so we can "keep it simple stoopid" and just use more of what we already got (yeah, I'm speaking stupid language about using OIL) I agree with TR, but can think of work-arounds for many problems he mentions at the expense of massive complications and expensive oversight. Who would actually want that or even think that is progress? Isn't the peak drain during the sunniest hottest of daylight hours? Hey lets invest trillions on something like V2G because it's far better than solar, did you know we'd have to invest trillions on solar? Wait, I'm thinking...ouch! Who the hell is in charge in this country? Oh, the oil industry's talking head. never-mind! Just invest trillions on oil wars, not solar cells which would provide jobs and actual progress!

Ahhh, thanks!
-S

jack

If they don't start ICEs then utilities won't get much energy (see pervious post). Without ICEs there is not enough energy to bother with this entire scheme.

First of all, what this sort of thing does is load balance. It's using power put in at night, stored in car batteries, and releasing it back during peak periods, as needed. It lowers the need for the amount of peak (on-demand) power capacity and better utilizes baseload power. It also provides a dual-use of storage instead of having reduntant storage mechanisms.

Without all the economic data (including risk assessment with respect to things like brown- and blackouts), there's no way to tell how this all breaks down economically. You're just shooting in the wind without any hard data. As for "infrastructure," basically all that it may entail are the sorts of devices used in intertie systems to send power back to a grid and meter, as well as some systems-level software and hardware to interact with the vehicles -- which the utilities already employ when they control things like people's air conditioners during peak demand periods. Bottom line is that utilities wouldn't be persuing this if they didn't think it had economic potential.

The US uses around 4 trillion kWh annually. Assume that half of that is consumed during an 8 hour period (obviously averaged over the time zones). That means there's around an average 700 million kW draw during working hours. There's around 230 million vehicles in the US national fleet. To provide a 10% buffer, assuming all vehicles were connected, would come out to 300 watts. That's an inconsequential amount of energy. Eight hours of that is the equivalent of driving a Tesla 10 miles.

Point is, there's plenty of potential capacity if the nation continues to have a large vehicle fleet and eventually most or all vehicles have the capacity to run 40 miles on electric power.

jack

Hey lets invest trillions on something like V2G because it's far better than solar, did you know we'd have to invest trillions on solar?

V2G and renewables are not substitutes, they are complements. Imagine a much bigger share for wind power. It could easily be used to charge the batteries in people's vehicles at night (or produce H2 for FCVs), then be used at peak daytime periods to deal with high demands on the grid.

Harvey D

SM;

The local paper is reporting that the current US Adminstration has spent only $757 billions (about $540 billion Euro) on Oil wars in the last 7 years. That's a lot of wasted money but a far cry from $$ trillions.

At about $25k per home, you could equip about 30 million homes with appropriate solar systems. This would be enough to close the most dirty coal fired power generating plants and/or keep the first 30 million PHEVs/BEVs on the road.

Of course, to close all coal fired power plants and generate-distribute enough clean power for 150+ million PHEVs/BEVs you will have to invest at least 8 to 10 times that much.

Neil

Roger: FYI. I found this quote on the Motorola site:

" The relationship between DOD and cycle life is logarithmic. In other words, the number of cycles yielded by a battery goes up exponentially the lower the DOD. Research studies have shown that the typical cellular phone user depletes their battery about 25 to 30 percent before recharging. Testing has shown that at this low level of DOD a lithium-ion battery can expect between 5 and 6 times the cycle numbers of a battery discharged to the one hundred percent DOD level continuously."

jack

The local paper is reporting that the current US Adminstration has spent only $757 billions (about $540 billion Euro) on Oil wars in the last 7 years. That's a lot of wasted money but a far cry from $$ trillions.

750 billion is a far cry from 1,000 billion? Hm - seems kind of close to me.

The latest oil wars aren't the only oil wars we've waged, nor is the "normal" military budget (and "security" and "intelligence" expenditures) included in the war costs. Most conventional measurements for the cost of the Iraq/Afghan wars have to do with the "supplementary" expenditures for expenses above baseline military budgets, which are substantially higher than they have been in the recent past.

If you add in the costs to people all around the world in terms of much higher oil and natural gas prices brought on by all this "instability," it easily gets into the trillions.

Roger Pham

g,
Your skepticism is reasonable, given this revolutionary idea. But, let's consider this:
The grid is aging and is busting at the seam from overloading. WE desperately need distributive power generation to ease the load on the aging grid. Overhauling and upgrading the grid is very expensive.

Peak load capacity is expensive due to gas turbine only used for a small fraction of the time. Gas turbines are very expensive machine due to the nature of gas turbines AND the low production number. Car engines are cheap due to the very large production number. GAs turbines wear out quickly if it is frequently being turned on or off or throttling in respond to peak load fluctuation. Car engines can be throttled ad nauseum without harm, or can be stopped and restart like a HEV without harm.

HEV's has 1/4 the pollution emission of a non-HEV. Running steady state for power generation generates very little pollution, even lower than that put out by the power plant. Only 100 cars can put out the equivalence of 2 MegaWatt of power.

HEV investment goes largely idled for most of the day. The car is driven for 30 min to 1 hr. the most daily, while the rest of the time it sits idle doing nothing. This is a terrible waste of capital investment.

For a $1000 investment an utility company has to pay for the V2G option of a privately-owned HEV, they get back 20kw of capacity. To buy a gas turbine for this, they will have to pay $10,000-14,000, PLUS a load of money to upgrade the grid to handle the extra load, or massive black out can happen.

Due to the enticing nature of VIP parking, the utility don't have to pay too much above base cost per kwh of peak electricity in order to get the HEV owner to sign up fo V2G service. With such a low investment, utility co. can make enormous profit!

A NG-HEV can be fueled at home, thus halving the fuel cost, and V2G participants can buy so much NG a month at bulk rate similar to what the utility co. pays for NG. A V2G owner, if paid $0.10 per kwh, will earn $10,000 after 100,000 kwh output, or 5,000 hrs of engine steady running at 20 kw power level. This is only 1/2 or less of the engine's durability.

Thanks, Neil, for the info on battery DOD charging vs. frequency.

greener

<>

Assume the engine burns only one gallon of fuel each of those 5,000 hours. At $3 per gallon of gas, that is $15,000 of fuel burned. I don't know about you, but I would hardly allow the power company to run my engine for 5,000 hours in return for $10,000, when my cost is $15,000 for the additional fuel burned, plus having to replace the engine in half the time, plus returning to my car to find the tank empty, etc.

jack

Assume the engine burns only one gallon of fuel each of those 5,000 hours. At $3 per gallon of gas, that is $15,000 of fuel burned.

I'm sorry, but could someone who understands V2G raise their hands if they believe that V2G is the intention to burn 5,000 gallons of gasoline per vehicle to generate electricity.

[no hands rise]

Neil

greener: I wouldn't worry too much about using your car to generate power for the grid. I personally don't think I'd want a running car sitting in my garage for any length of time. I also don't think generating electricity from oil is an option. NG is a pretty good idea, but I'd rather use some PV panels on my roof. Most proponents of V2G are more interested in the ability to utilize the battery capacity of PHEVs and BEVs to store energy from intermittent sources or just reduce the need for spinning reserves on the grid. It would also be nice to have the generating capacity in case of emergency.

Roger Pham

For NG, it will probably be $5000-7000 fuel cost instead of $15,000 for gasoline, or a lot less if V2G owners get to purchase NG at bulk rate as compensation for their participation. And then again, they'll pay the owners more, may be $0.15 per kwh. Let's not use gasoline for the purpose of V2G, folks!

Those who don't like ICE-HEV V2G do not have to participate. It only takes 1% of vehicles to participate to be sufficient. The ability to park in VIP slot and to make a few thousands dollars profit for the use of a car that sits most of the time doing noting is sufficient incentive for me. Modern ICE-HEV's engine and generator are very durable. Piston engine generator can go for 50,000 hrs before overhaul. My Prius ran for 5,000 miles per oil change and no oil is consumed at all at each oilchange interval. The Prii used as taxis ran for 500,000 kms with no problem, and that is stop and go traffic with much higher stress on the engine, generator and motor.

Rooftop PV panel and wind turbines are also great as peakload relievers, but, if the sun do not shine, or in evening hrs when solar output is markedly decrease, or when the wind does not blow, then you will appreciate the ability of these ICE-HEV V2G kicks in to give the extra juice and save the grid from collapse.

Roger Pham

One step further, there may be a plug out line for the coolant of the HEV and another line for the exhaust in order to harness waste heat from the engine that can be used for space heating, adsorptive cooler, or water heating. That way, we don't have to worry about running the car in a garage with closed door. The exhaust line vented outside and in so doing, is going thru a heat exchanger to harness the heat from the exhaust.
This can double the energy efficiency of the vehicle to nearly 80% or higher, and more money to be saved.

Much more importantly, this will encourage far more people to buy HEV, and the potential in fuel saving will be enormous.

Reality Czech

1 gallon gasoline = 115,000 BTU = 33.7 kWh

At 37% efficiency, yields 12.5 kWh.

That's about 25 cents/kWh at $3/gallon, over 30 cents at California prices.

Nobody in their right mind is going to use motor fuel to run the grid except in emergencies. The people who are talking about it (Roger Pham & Co.) need to get their heads on straight.

Roger Pham

Realty check,
re-read my previous posting:

"For NG, (Natural Gas) it will probably be $5000-7000 fuel cost instead of $15,000 for gasoline, or a lot less if V2G owners get to purchase NG at bulk rate as compensation for their participation. And then again, they'll pay the owners more, may be $0.15 per kwh. Let's not use gasoline for the purpose of V2G, folks!"

This V2G deal will also accelerate the adaptation of NG vehicle and help reduce petroleum dependency, while increase utilization of HEV.

Roger Pham

Thanks, Reality Czech, for illustrating how much we have been price gouged regarding high energy prices at the pump!
Remember that the efficiency of an HEV engine is comparable to that of a gas turbine at the powerplant. Ergo, the $0.25/kwh reflects high energy price (petrol) and not any superior efficiency from the utility company.
I pay ~13.7 cents/kwh where I live, so it must have cost the utility co. ~under 10 cents/kwh to produce the electricity, more like 7-8 cents. A large proportion of power plants where I live use coal-fired steam turbine at ~35% efficiency the most!

So, if coal is gasified into either H2 or converted to methanol or methane, we would be paying less than half for energy cost at the pump. Something to think about, isn't it?

Even wind electricity to H2 via HT-SOEC at 1.4 x .92= 128% efficiency, and at wind electricity at $0.07 /kwh, 33kwh/1.28= 25kwh wind electricity needed, 25 x 7 cents= 180 cents, or $1.8/kg of H2 or equal to 1 gallon of gasoline. Adding profit and other costs, and wind to H2 can be brought to competitive price with retail petrol at the pump!

Roger Pham

Adding to above, if CO2 and steam are both fed to the HT-SOEC (high-temp Solid Oxide Electrolytic Cell), we will get methane as product, all in one step. Methane has 3x the energy density of H2 at a given pressure, and so is more appropriate for current HEV technology. Methane can be transported long distance via pipelines, so, HT-SOEC apparatus can be set up in the desert Southwest USA, using concentrated solar heat and electricity to feed the SOEC, with CO2 and water trucked in or transported via pipelines. The methane product will be flowed back to the west coast, mid-west and other regions for consumption.

Alternatively, HVDC (High Voltage DC) power lines can be built to transmit the electricity from the desert to the rest of the country, and this electricity will be combined with the waste heat and waste CO2 from a gas turbine power plant for HT-SOEC to produce methane and H2. I'd bet that with the price of petrol as high as it is right now, even renewable energy fuels will be competitive in the market place without government incentives.

In the future, when >50%-efficient H2-ICE-HEV will be developed, or FC-hybrid become more affordable, then H2 will do just fine by itself.

John

Hold on people. V2G will NOT be working on the small sized Prius battery packs, not even Prius 3 packs, but could work on Volt sized packs or larger. V2G will NEVER require anyone running their motor while parked. It would occasionally take a very small percentage of your battery charge to temporarily help support the grid, no harm no foul, end of story.

gr

Lots of fun reading on this one! V2G is nowhere near ready for prime time. But it does raise the interesting issue of allowing a single source energy supplier to take control of your vehicle.

The need for peak power mitigation results from over-reliance on electrical cooling of homes and offices, manufacturing etc. So, maybe the utility should think about less complex ways to get their customers to cool structures more efficiently (insulation, blinds, thermal architecture, heat pumps, telecommutes, etc).

Next, if the "grid" was reconfigured to encourage community PV/wind generating systems, single family, multi-units, shared rooftop, etc. AND next generation net metering managed the return to grid loop - the problem of peak demand could be addressed incrementally.

The grid needs to become a matrix of the present grid overlayed with newer, smaller supplemental power sources. These small systems can be private sector or community/municipal efforts that sell power to local PHEVs/BEVs and sell excess power back to utilities. The benefits are significant:

Second-source energy supply.
Renewable resource.
Security enhancement (hard to damage hundreds of sources)
Small business opportunities i.e. JOBS.
Major hedge against grid & utility failures.
Diversification of energy resources - avoid monopolization of energy like petroleum did.

V2G is an engineering exercise at this stage. It could play a role in the small overlay grids. Too soon to know. But we would like to see an overlay of small energy suppliers who can use next gen net metering to sell their power to local consumers.

The intelligence added to a vehicle for V2G should be used to give the consumer an opportunity to "shop" for lowest or greenest energy suppliers. This keeps the energy industry diversified and puts a portion of market control in the hands of consumers, aka "the people." IMO

Greener

We seem to have two competing pro-V2G visions here. One is that in order to store enough power to make V2G worthwhile, the V2G participants would have to allow their vehicles ICE to be run for thousands of hours. The other is that in no way does V2G involve running the ICE of the V2G participant vehicles. In fact, it wouldn't even require deep cycling of the participant's batteries. It would simply involve the occasional use of a "tiny fraction" of the battery capacity of V2G participant vehicles.

I argue that neither of these scenarios is likely. The argument against the first scenario is that nobody is going to want to allow the electric utility to run their vehicle's ICE remotely for any period of time, let alone for thousands of hours. Would you stand for the utility starting your ICE, running it for hours, depleting your fuel supply, wearing out your engine? Would you want to be anywhere near a parking lot on a hot summer day with hundreds of ICE's belching out pollutants? Would you want to work near such a V2G lot?

The argument against the second scenario is that it would produce such a miniscule amount of additional power, the infrastructure cost would be ridiculously high relative to the benefit received. I believe the capacity of the Volt battery is about 5kWh. A "tiny fraction" of this capacity (say 10%) is .5 kWh. That's about 5 to 10 cents of electricity. What would be the cost of supplying the infrastructure to take an occasional 5 to 10 cents of electricity from a PHEV battery?

The problem with using the V2G vehicle's motor to generate the electricity is that nobody would stand for it.

The problem with using the V2G vehicle's battery to supply the electricity is that it either supplies so little electricity back to the grid that its not worth the infrastructure cost, or if a greater amount of electricity is drawn from the battery, it wears out the extremely expensive batteries much more quickly.

jack

The argument against the second scenario is that it would produce such a miniscule amount of additional power, the infrastructure cost would be ridiculously high relative to the benefit received. I believe the capacity of the Volt battery is about 5kWh. A "tiny fraction" of this capacity (say 10%) is .5 kWh. That's about 5 to 10 cents of electricity. What would be the cost of supplying the infrastructure to take an occasional 5 to 10 cents of electricity from a PHEV battery?

The proposed Volt battery pack is 16 kWh, not 5 kWh, engineered to stay within 30-80% SOC. That means there's 8 kWh of power available, and even at 10%, it would be 1.6 kWh.

As stated before, average hourly peak electricity use is roughly 700 million kWh. Assume 10% peak demand that needs to be shaved. That's 70 million kWh. That would draw 700 Wh per vehicle. Even if the utility was only pulling 10% of the pack's power (and again, this is with a first generation series plug-in), that could a 10% peak for 11-12 hours.

The thing about a nickel to a dime relative to infrastructure costs is silly. This wouldn't be a one-off thing, nor does it account for the costs of the extra capacity (both in generating and delivery) that would otherwise have been built (what is known as the "opportunity cost") as well as the savings from avoiding brownouts and blackouts.

It's completely feasible.

Neil

greener: Don't forget that peak electricity is by far the most expensive for the utility because it has to be supplied by generating capacity that otherwise sits idle, or even worse is sitting there generating power that nobody can use. That's while they'll be willing to pay you enough for your power to make what you're calling the "second scenario" worth while.

Greener

jack says: "As stated before, average hourly peak electricity use is roughly 700 million kWh. Assume 10% peak demand that needs to be shaved. That's 70 million kWh. That would draw 700 Wh per vehicle. Even if the utility was only pulling 10% of the pack's power (and again, this is with a first generation series plug-in), that could a 10% peak for 11-12 hours."

Based on your assumptions, 700 million kWh is used per HOUR of peak usage and 10% of that needs to be shaved. That's 70 million kWh per HOUR. Assuming every one of the 230 millions vehicle in the country is a PHEV and every one of them is connected to the grid and free to supply power, that is .3 kWh per Hour of peak shaving. You mentioned 11-12 hours of peak shaving, that would equate to 3.3 to 4 kWh from EVERY VEHICLE in the country.

And this assumes that every vehicle in the country is a PHEV, and every one of those vehicles is available to provide power during the peak hours. Which is a ridiculous assumption. After 10 years of the availability of HEV's, they comprise somewhere in the low single digits of the US vehicle fleet. Further, to assume that every vehicle is available for peak shaving assumes that there are 230 million plus connections to the grid and that nobody is driving anywhere during peak hours. If "only" half of the vehicles are PHEV's, and "only" half of these are available for supplying power back to the grid, now we are up to 1.2 kWh of power supplied by each vehicle connected to the grid for each hour of peak shaving.

Nor does this account for the cost of providing 230 million separate connections to the grid (actually, it would take well above 230 million unless you want to assume that every vehicle is parked at the very same place during the peak period every day).

Finally, I didn't realize that GM was planning to use a 16 kWh battery in the Volt. If that is the case, I can't imagine they will be able to bring the Volt to market for the $30k price they are talking about. Now I understand why the GM CEO was talking about selling the car and leasing the battery.

jack

Greener, you're getting a number of things turned around.

First, I thought I had made it explicit but guess I didn't in my prior post that I was referring to a scenario of 100 million vehicles. This is much less than half the current US vehicle fleet, so in the time frame that this sort of thing would have mass application (or at least wide regional application in prime markets like Southern California), you're probably looking at 7-10 years, depending on a lot of factors. A lot is going to change in that time period, so all these rough calcs have to be kept in context that they're just there to test concept feasibility.

The reason I said the amount of time that this resource could be used to shave off 10% of the peak use is that there is no way that it would be needed for that length of time, nor is that a realistic amount of time, since the daytime idle time of most vehicles is the standard work day -- around 8 to 5. And the time period that is of most concern is probably from 2-6 pm in terms of peak electricity use on the hottest days.

I didn't really go into detail about why one would want distributed storage like this, in terms of lowering redundancies for power supply across a grid and mostly in terms of helping avoid the baseline production problem associated with solar and wind.

I also don't think anyone looks at this as some sort of complete solution, merely as part of a number of solutions.

But if the issue is capacity for dealing with peak power needs, and assuming sufficient market penetration of vehicles with the kinds of electrical (or hydrogen) storage capabilities along the lines that we see with the Volt, then clearly it's feasible in terms of capacity.

The economic equation is far more complex than you give it credit as well, and I and others have touched upon this already. The infrastructure question is also relatively moot, as connecting to a "reversible outlet" doesn't require anything beyond standard 120V, and we've already covered that the control mechanisms from the utility are already established with the programs they have now for cycling end-user air conditioners and such. Metering is also a trivial consideration, especially 7-10 years from now.

No one's claiming that all the cars in America will need to be connected simultaneously and that they'll need to power the whole country by themselves.

It's just an idea that some entities are experimenting with right now. No need to get worked into a froth about it until it comes closer to fruition.

doggydogworld

CAISO publishes system load data for most of California (11m households). On hot days the 24 hour graph looks kind of like a sine wave between 25 and 45 GW. Full day usage is roughly 35 GW * 24 hr = 840 GWh. If the 20m vehicles in CAISO's service area were V2G PHEVs, at 8 kWh (40 miles) per day the full day electric usage would be 1000 GWh instead of 840. The daily load graph would be a 42 GW flat line instead of a 25-45 GW sinusoid-ish curve.

Note that most of the V2G PHEV load leveling effect comes from "filling in the valley" instead of "flattening the peak". The PHEVs intelligently charge during the 19 hours when other uses draw less than 42 GW and feed up to 3 GW of power back into the grid during the 5 peak hours. Total energy fed back into the grid would be roughly 10 GWh.

3 GW / 20m cars = 150 W per car
10 GWh / 20m cars = 500 Wh per car

150 W is laughably small, and 500 Wh represents 3% DOD for a Chevy Volt-sized pack and only a couple miles of lost range. And remember, this only happens on hot days. On most days PHEVs don't need to feed into the grid at all.

[NOTE: For simplicity I divide load into baseload and peak, which differs slightly from convention.]

The daily profile changes from 600 GWh of baseload plus 240 GWh of peak, to a simple 1000 GWh of baseload. CA peakers are typically single-cycle gas turbines, which run a bit over 30% efficient. Combined-cycle gas turbines used for baseload can achieve 60% thermal efficiency. The utilities can thus generate 400 GWh of baseload with less natural gas than they currently burn to supply the 240 GWh peak. So CA would actually burn less natural gas while also eliminating 30 million gallons/day of gasoline consumption.

Hmmmmm, maybe V2G isn't so harebrained after all.

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