North East to drive energy storage innovation

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Nissan and Newcastle University are working together to develop pioneering electricity storage using electric vehicle batteries.

The research project will aim to develop vehicles that can put energy back into the National Grid.

Innovative charging points

The first 10 vehicle-to-grid charging points installed at Newcastle University and Nissan’s research facility at Cranfield allow energy to flow both to and from a car’s battery.

The innovative technology developed by Dutch firm Enel and Nissan will turn electric vehicles into mobile energy storage systems.

Energy from the elements

Nissan believe vehicle batteries can be used as mobile storage for energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar photovoltaic (Solar PV) technology.

This will boost plans to increase the use of renewable energy by making vehicles the devices that can store power at peak times for wind and solar PV. It can then be released back to the grid when such sources of power are less productive.

Multi-billion pound savings

In addition to ensuring cars are always fully charged, Nissan believes that, if fully integrated, the concept could save £2.4bn in electricity costs by 2030.

The potential for the technology is being investigated through Newcastle University’s £2m Smart Grid Laboratory facility. The laboratory is also part of the university’s £20m National Centre for Energy Systems Integration.

North East hailed a ‘world leader’

Employment Minister, Damian Hinds said: “This is incredibly impressive. You’ve got a very strong partnership between the university and industry, companies like Siemens and Nissan, working together on electric storage battery technology and smart grid technology, both of which are fundamental for our country but also for the developing world.

“It could be a game changer for electric vehicles and the North East is a world leader in that area.

“It’s also really important for renewable energy and this part of the country again is really fundamental in that area.”

Science Central role

Professor Phil Taylor, Siemens professor of energy systems at Newcastle University, said: “Science Central is a unique, full-scale test-bed which allows us to test novel technologies and interventions in the real world.

“Importantly we are responding to what people want and need. Public demand for cleaner, cheaper energy is driving our research into energy storage and smart energy.

“We know more people would drive an electric vehicle if it were cheaper so the vehicle-to-grid research is looking at how we can reduce long term costs by providing energy and balancing services to the grid.”

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