The Alliance Center, a coworking and event space in Denver, is testing a bidirectional charging system with Vehicle-to-Building (V2B) capabilities, in partnership with Fermata Energy. The system allows the battery pack in an EV to provide power to a building—and that came in mighty handy during the recent record heat wave. As many Denver residents suffered power outages, the Alliance Center drew on energy stored in the EV’s battery every afternoon.
Colorado CarShare manages the car, sharing it with its members in the Denver and Boulder areas, so the Alliance Center must reserve the car for the peak hours when it wants to use it as an energy source. This is where Fermata Energy comes in, providing data and support to calculate when the organization should manually reserve the vehicle. In the future, this process should become more automated, allowing anticipated weather patterns to determine optimal usage times without human input.
“You can utilize the vehicle in the event of some sort of power outage, for resiliency, for a customer that doesn’t have power for their home or for their building,” said Chris Bowyer, Director of Building Operations at the Alliance Center. “That vehicle or groups of vehicles could be used to provide a resource to community members in case it’s very hot or very cold outside.”
During the mid-June heat wave, Denver set up 10 cooling stations at recreation centers. Installing V2B or V2G systems at such community centers could be hugely helpful. One of the bidirectional chargers is already in use at a recreation center in Boulder, and Fermata is planning to install one at a church that could be used as a gathering place in the event of a natural disaster.
The same technology could be used with fleets of buses or other vehicles. “Hopefully, the data that comes out of it can show how many vehicles I would need, or how many buses another property or another entity may be able to use to…be able to provide a resource to community members,” said Bowyer.
Source: Rocky Mountain PBS