SEEV4-City: Latest project news
Vehicle-to-Home: Loughborough Living Lab
The Loughborough living lab
was the first domestic property in the UK to be fitted with an operational Vehicle-to-Grid EV charger
as part of an EU funded project examining the performance of a combination of smart energy technologies. But that’s not the only thing to be tested at this landmark location…
The story so far
The smallest operational pilot studied by the EU Interreg North Sea Region funded SEEV4-City project aims to demonstrate the added value of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) and stationary battery storage to balance renewable energy generation and consumption in households for maximum efficiency.
The household was progressively equipped with ‘smart’ technologies, beginning with solar panels and an electric vehicle. Later a stationary battery storage and a bespoke V2G charging unit were added. The incremental addition of smart technologies has enabled the true impact and value of each to be assessed, both individually and in combination, giving a better idea of how the technologies interact and whether they compete or complement each other. This will enable future home owners to identify the best technology combinations to meet their needs.
The V2G unit is a research prototype, but it is intended that the learning from this project will support the future development of commercially available domestic V2G units. While the EV is parked at home, the V2G unit enables the vehicle to charge using excess solar generation and return the power to the home when it is required. The V2G charger is remotely programmed to match the household’s anticipated electricity demand and the solar energy production forecast. As a result, it is expected that the distance travelled by the EV using zero emission PV generation will increase, while minimising the home’s overall demand for imported energy.
This house is not only an operational pilot, but also the home of Steve, Sue and their children. The fact that Steve is an employee at Cenex, one of the partners in the SEEV4-City project, allows the system to be monitored and exercised more readily than in a normal commercial trial and it enables the equipment to be tested prior to going through full CE testing. This also provides a number of additional advantages including easy access to user feedback on the system, and the collection of contrasting views from different family members with different needs and expectations of the system.
According to Steve “Being part of this trial has been a real eye opener and helped me see the value of the different technologies. I’ve really enjoyed knowing that I’m getting the most out of my PV.”
The system required Steve and Sue to change their charging habits, when compared to using a standard EV charging unit. For example, it was important that the EV was always plugged into the V2G unit when the vehicle was at home. However, they both adapted easily to the new habits and didn’t feel there was really any negative impacts due to these changes.
Despite some initial teething problems, using the V2G unit seems to have been an overall success and it has generated a real interest in the technology for Steve, who is now adept at sketching diagrams to show how all the technologies interact and work together! The ‘Living Lab’ has also lived up to its name, hosting various visitors from across Europe as they come to witness a domestic V2G unit in action, putting Steve and Sue’s tea making skills to the test.
Overall this ‘Living Lab’ experiment has enabled the trialling of cutting edge systems in a safe, monitored environment, whilst also allowing collection of high quality data which will be invaluable in the future development of domestic V2G systems.
The system has been operational for over a year now, allowing a large quantity of data to be collected and for the system to be tested under a wide range of conditions across all four seasons. The operation of this unit will continue to be monitored as part of the SEEV4-City project to help develop a better understanding of the interactions between EVs, renewable generation and smart energy management systems. The lessons learnt from the prototype development and its ongoing operation will also be used to support the development of future commercial V2G units.
SEEV4-City is led by the Amsterdam University of Applied sciences (Hogeschool van Amsterdam):