Denmark first test market:  

The “Cash Back Car”: Electric Vehicles to sell power from batteries back to the grid

2011.06.17

US company Nuvve has chosen Denmark to launch a new technology allowing electric cars to sell energy from batteries back to the grid. A solution which helps solve peak hour demand, uses excess wind energy - and financially compensates the car owner.

EV by Sigudur Olafsson - Norden

An Electric Vehicle (EV) is typically parked 95 percent of the time. The most expensive component in the car is the battery, so why not put it to work making EVs not just environmentally but also financially appealing? That’s the idea behind Nuvve’s new V2G (Vehicle to Grid) technology; a solution having gone through 10 years of development in the US and now ready to be commercially launched in Europe with Denmark as the first test market.

Electrical car batteries as energy storage solution

An increasing amount of EVs today come with bidirectional drive trains able to both charge and discharge power into the grid. Nuvve’s innovation is a server connecting the EVs to the grid operator, a technology unmatched in the market.

The EV owner makes the battery available to Nuvve during a given period and, depending on supply and demand in the grid, the company uses the car as a short time energy storage solution in order to help regulate the power frequency of the grid. The value of providing these regulation services is very high. Nuvve’s calculations show their business model compensating each individual EV owner $10,000 over the life of a vehicle depending on market price and owner commitment.

Danish smart grid perfect for new technology

The US company is in the process of opening a head quarter in Denmark. Nuvve will start out by hiring eight Danish employees for departments in Horsens and Copenhagen, but is planning to quickly scale up both staffing and the scope of the pilot project targeted to start in September depending on project financing.

CEO of Nuvve, Gregory Poilasne, says that one of the reasons the company chose Denmark is due to the large amount of renewable energy in the Danish grid resulting in significant power fluctuations from sources such as wind.

“As opposed to countries like Sweden and France where the power supply is fairly constant as a result of large nuclear and hydropower production, the dynamic Danish grid is an optimal choice for our technology. We offer the most economic and ecologic solution to support ancillary services and power regulation while generating revenue for EV owners without really impacting their vehicles or driving needs,” says the Nuvve CEO, who also stresses Denmark’s significant experience with EVs as a deciding factor.

“At the same time, Denmark’s grid is closely connected to the rest of Europe, so for us it’s also a stepping stone to the neighboring countries such as Germany and the Netherlands.”

Cooperation with strong Danish partners

One of Nuvve’s Danish partners is Bright Ignite, a member-based cluster organization actively promoting the Danish EV sector.

“At Bright Ignite, we work to create jobs and growth related to e-mobility. Some of our main tasks are R&D projects aimed at new technologies and the market," says CEO of Bright Ignite, Karsten Lumbye Jensen, who quickly saw a clear match with Nuvve’s V2G project.

“We believe the Nuvve solution to hold a large potential, which we would like to examine further. The V2G project gives us an excellent chance to gain experience and learn how to conduct business in an area we see as very valuable to companies, end users and the nation as a whole,” says the Bright Ignite CEO adding that the organization already has access to V2G ready EVs for participation in the program.

Bright Ignite is working very closely with Nuvve and is creating a consortium including key partners in order to make this project successful. One of the aims of the consortium is to analyze the V2G technology’s behavioural impact on the EV owners participating in the project, and also evaluate potential postponement of infrastructure upgrades within utilities and distribution companies.

Denmark’s fourth largest utility, NRGI, is also examining the Nuvve solution.

“The grid of the future will meet many potentials and challenges, one of them is the EV and plug-in. Right now, the grid has no trouble handling the relative low number of EVs in operation, but long term they are going to be negative impact on the grid unless we charge them intelligently. NRGI is always searching for new technologies and business models seeking to stabilize the grid and increase the share of renewables in our power production, That's why we're now taking a very close look at Nuvve's interesting set-up," says CEO of NRGI, Søren Sørensen.

Nuvve was introduced to Denmark and the Danish partners through Invest in Denmark.  Cleantech Investment Manager Anita Kjøller Nielsen from Invest in Denmark in Silicon Valley says that Nuvve brings a valuable piece of the smart grid puzzle to the table:

”For a long time, we’ve been talking about the EV as an integrated, stabilizing factor in the intelligent grid. But the partners that we introduced to Nuvve all but agreed they had not expected this technology to be ready for another 4-5 years. Nuvve launching in Denmark now not only creates jobs, it also helps strengthen Denmark’s green technology cluster and its position as one of the leading smart grid nations in the world.”

Gregory Poilasne stresses Invest in Denmark’s role in the process of the European launch.

”Invest in Denmark immediately understood our solution, how to position it and which key players in Denmark to introduce us to in order to get the project started.”

Smart Grid Applied Conference

Nuvve and Invest in Denmark both participate in the conference Smart Grid Applied, June 22 – 23 in Silicon Valley, where Gregory Poilasne speaks on a panel with DONG Energy, Danish Technological Institute and Coulomb Technologies on how to intelligently integrate EVs in the grid.

The two day conference is organized by Innovation Center Denmark and Invest in Denmark in Silicon Valley. Smart Grid Applied introduces Danish smart grid technology companies, investors, system integrators, utilities, and researchers to their US counterparts in order to explore new business ventures and collaborations.

Please contact Investment Manager Anita Kjøller Nielsen from Invest in Denmark at anitni@um.dk for further information about the project or cleantech opportunities in Denmark in general.

Read more:

www.smartgridapplied.com
www.nuvve.com
www.brightignite.dk
www.investindk.com

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