Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology could turn the challenge of EVs’ power consumption into an opportunity, allowing vehicle batteries to help balance electrical grids and facilitate the use of renewable energy. Alas, a recent study from the University of Hawaii suggested that the additional cycling could harm battery performance.
Now a study from the University of Warwick suggests that using a battery in a V2G scenario does not necessarily degrade its performance – in fact, it might conceivably improve it. After running simulations on a “comprehensive battery degradation model,” the researchers developed a V2G algorithm designed to minimize degradation.
They also found that, under certain conditions, exchanging energy with the grid could actually extend battery life. “Extensive simulation results indicate that if a daily drive cycle consumes between 21% and 38% state of charge, then discharging 40%–8% of the batteries state of charge to the grid can reduce capacity fade by approximately 6% and power fade by 3% over a three month period,” wrote the researchers.
The smart-grid optimisation was used to investigate a case study of the electricity demand for a representative University office building. Results suggest that the smart-grid formulation is able to reduce the EVs’ battery pack capacity fade by up to 9.1% and power fade by up to 12.1%.
So, V2G good, or V2G bad? The jury is still out – as Vox notes, there are several pilot projects underway around the world. But if this study’s findings prove to be valid over the long term, V2G could turn out to be even more valuable than previously imagined. Currently, V2G is envisioned as a service to the grid for which utilities would pay EV owners. But if it were possible to improve a battery’s life by massaging it with just the right smart charging algorithm, payments might flow in the other direction.