Technology would let electric vehicle owners sell power back to the grid

Summary:Technology developed by University of Delaware would feed power into the grid during peak demand periods, paying electric vehicle owners as appropriate.

Nay-sayers sometimes worry about the drain that electric vehicles could place on the electric grid, particularly when commuters arrive home in the evening and plug in for an overnight recharge. But the University of Delaware and NRG Energy hope to flip the switch on that scenario into reverse. The two are working together on a platform called eV2g (the translation of that bizarre acronym is electric vehicle to grid).

Initially developed at the University of Delaware, the electric-vehicle-to-grid platform would allow electric vehicle owners plugged into NRG Energy's eVgo charging network to sell power back into the grid during peak usage events. So, for example, on an especially hot day in Texas (sound familiar?), NRG Energy might be able to look to electric vehicle batteries to help relieve peak demand.

Said Denise Wilson, president of NRG's Alternative Energy Services:

"Working in partnership with the University of Delaware, eV2g technology will for the first time offer a true-way interface between EVs and the electric grid, resulting in cost saving to EV fleet operators and eventually other EV owners and consumers, and cleaner and more reliable electricity for everybody. It's one more way EV owners can commit to a sustainable future and get paid for it at the same time."

One big thing that eV2g would handle is the transaction processing, collecting payment from the grid operator and crediting electric vehicle owners as appropriate.

According to calculations by the University of Delaware team that is working with NRG Energy, if every vehicle in the United States was electrified, it would be enough to power the country for a half day. Of course, the flip is also true: If every vehicle were electrified, it would take that much power to keep them charged. Which underscores the need for charging networks that are powered by renewable energy sources.

Regardless, two-way communications between electric vehicles and charging networks will be critical as more of them hit the road. So this venture is one to watch.

Topics: Tech Industry

About

Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist specializing in transformative technology and innovation. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News. She started her journalism lif... Full Bio

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