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New research from WMG allows electric vehicles to power the national grid

Ground-breaking battery research from WMG at the University of Warwick has shown that that energy can be transferred from idle electrical vehicles to the national grid to power buildings using vehicle-to-grid technology. The research, carried out by Dr Kotub Uddin with colleagues from WMG’s Energy and Electrical Systems group and collaborators from Jaguar Land Rover, has shown that the batteries of these electric vehicles are also not damaged in the process. In fact, it even improves the battery life of the vehicle by up to 10% over a year.

As a result of an expanding global population and fast economic growth, there has been an increase in the global energy demand. This has led to increased carbon dioxide emissions despite dwindling natural resources. Many alternative renewable energy sources are seen to hamper economic growth due to their greater cost and unreliability. However, this new vehicle-to-grid research from WMG creates new possibilities for the future of renewable energy where other methods like solar and wind energy lack the flexibility needed to match supply and demand.

Many alternative renewable energy sources are seen to hamper economic growth due to their greater cost and unreliability. 

Over the last two years, Dr Uddin’s team has created one of the most cutting-edge battery degradation models in the public domain by analysing various lithium ion batteries with a higher power density than most commercially available batteries. This model has been used to predict the batteries’ capacity and their degradation over time due to factors such as temperature and voltage. This has allowed an algorithm to be developed that determines the energy a vehicle will need to make daily journeys and therefore how much energy can be taken without affecting the battery.

At any one time, up to 95% of cars are parked idly and on The University of Warwick’s campus, 2.1% of these cars are estimated to be electric vehicles. The group showed that using energy from these vehicles could power WMG’s large International Digital Laboratory. As previously mentioned, the loss of capacity of the electric vehicle’s battery over a year was shown to be reduced by up to 9.1%, which counters previous theories that using the vehicle to grid technology increases lithium ion battery degradation. Therefore as well as being a potential sustainable source of energy, the vehicle to grid technology is a useful tool to optimise a battery’s conditions so that degradation is minimised. Dr Uddin’s team has proved that battery degradation is complex, and that this complexity can be used to improve a lithium ion battery’s lifetime as well as power the grid in peak times.

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