Smart energy: Why vehicle-to-grid technology is on the move

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There’s a lot to be said for using car batteries as temporary energy storage facilities, but significant barriers still stand in the way of widespread uptake, as Jessica Twentyman explains.

What do you get if you cross an electric vehicle with a smart building? According to Hitachi Europe, Mitsubishi Motors, and energy company ENGIE, the answer could be an energy-neutral office block that uses cars in the parking lot as a temporary energy storage facility.

Last week, the three companies announced a project in the Netherlands that will see them test out their theories, by linking a Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) to ENGIE’s office building in Zaandam, via Hitachi’s two-way V2X Charger.

The V2X Charter can be used not only to recharge an electric vehicle (EV), but also to discharge the energy held in its battery back into a building when needed. In this way, when a building equipped with solar panels generates more energy than it needs, for example, the excess might be stored in vehicles until it’s required.

For the next stage of its project, the consortium will examine how EVs, renewable energy, and smart building energy management systems might be more closely coordinated to reduce energy costs and emissions, with the ultimate goal of making buildings energy neutral, according to Hitachi Europe’s chief digital officer, Ram Ramachander.

“Our technology can also help to create new business cases across the EV value chain,” he says, “including vehicle-to-grid technology, which enables flexibility with their energy distribution.”

V2G promises

The term ‘vehicle-to-grid’, or V2G, is not new. The idea of using car batteries as a source of power in grid services has been seen as attractive for several years, not only because of the growing lithium-ion capacity tied up in EVs, but also because much of that energy is not being used a great deal of the time.

As Vincent Cobee, corporate vice president at Mitsubishi Motors, puts it, the project in Zaandam aims to show that EVs and PHEVs “can be a vital component of energy in the future.”

Last month, automaker Nissan announced a partnership with energy giant E.ON at the Geneva Motor Show, which focuses in part on “vehicle-to-grid infrastructure and advanced bi-directional charging technology to allow customers to optimise their energy use and costs.”

The UK government seems to see a lot of promise in V2G, too. In February 2018, the Department of Transport announced a new £30 million investment in V2G technologies, which it hopes will unlock the potential for EVs to be used to power homes, rather than the other way around.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman certainly didn’t hold back his enthusiasm for the technology. “These projects are at the cutting edge of their field,” he said. “Just like the visionary designs of Brunel and Stephenson in transport, they could revolutionise the ways in which we store and manage electricity, both now and in the future.”

One of the groups that will benefit from that funding brings together energy storage specialist Moixa Energy, the UK’s National Grid, Western Power Distribution, and Nissan’s Technical Centre Europe, among others.

If electric vehicles are left plugged into smart, two-way charging points when not in use, argue the consortium’s members, their batteries can feed power into the network at times of peak demand. Just ten new Nissan LEAFs can store as much energy as a thousand homes typically consume in an hour, they claim.

“Smart chargers can also control when cars recharge to avoid stressing the network and to store surplus power when demand is low. This will allow the grid to operate more efficiently, support high levels of renewables, and rely less on fossil fuel power stations,” the consortium says.

Its study, V2GB – Vehicle to Grid Britain, aims to establish the best way to incentivise a rapid rollout of the technology, via sharing the revenues that result from V2G energy flows among drivers, owners of smart charging stations and car parks, and aggregators of battery capacity.

Internet of Business says

A promising technology, but the journey to becoming a mainstream, everyday option is still some way off for V2G. One concern it that discharging energy from a stationary EV stresses its battery, which is one of its most expensive components.

Paying drivers to take part may prove to be the critical incentive that helps V2G schemes succeed, but not all drivers will be persuaded to participate, especially if they’re concerned about their EV being drained of power just before they set off on a journey. This is where smart energy management software may play a big role, by helping to ensure that charging and discharging fits in with drivers’ preferences and schedules.

Utilities’ ability to keep up is also in question. It’s no secret that many are already struggling to deal with growing EV charging requirements, even though they look set to gain massively if they can reposition themselves as ‘the new petroleum companies’.

Recent analysis by research firm Wood Mackenzie, for example, predicts that simultaneously charging 60,000 EVs in Texas could cause a massive grid failure in that state – even though that total accounts for just 0.25 percent of the 24 million vehicles registered by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

Plus, there just aren’t that many EVs available that support two-way flows. Most EVs can chug away at charging points, but vehicles capable of regurgitating the contents of their battery for use elsewhere are yet to emerge in substantial numbers.

In short, automakers have a lot of work to do to make V2G systems work.

But that is not to say that the hurdles can’t be overcome in time. The benefits are potentially huge: a more resilient smart grid, energy-neutral buildings, cleaner air, and lower carbon emissions.

Read more: Electric car demand supercharges lithium-ion battery market. Positive news?

Read more: Battery breakthrough puts superfast-charging electric vehicles on road

Read more: WaveRoller energy: Why the sea is the world’s biggest battery

Read more: Pirelli smart tyres underpin its Cyber Car strategy

The post Smart energy: Why vehicle-to-grid technology is on the move appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Smugglers Used Drones to Move $80 Million Worth of iPhones in China

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Chinese customs officials in Hong Kong and Shenzhen province closed in on a band of criminals who were allegedly using drones in a bid to smuggle thousands of refurbished iPhone models, according to a Reuters report. The Legal Daily reports that the highly-calculated operation’s value hovered somewhere around 500 million yuan ($ 79.8 million) worth of […]
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Intel shares drop on report that Apple will move Macs to in-house chips in 2020

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Apple is actively planning to move away from using Intel-series processors in its Macintosh computers, according to a new report today from Bloomberg. The move to Apple in-house chips is expected to take place in 2020, and the story led Intel’s stock to drop as much as 9.2 percent since the its publication. Shares have since recovered some of…Read More
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Jimmy Iovine May Move Into a Consulting Role at Apple

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Earlier this year, it was reported that Jimmy Iovine, the Beats co-founder who now oversees the streaming music service Apple Music, was planning on leaving the company later this year. Continue reading
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webOS ready to move beyond TVs, says LG

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The evolution of webOS under LG

LG just released an open-sourced version of webOS that’s freely available to anyone that wants to download and poke around the code. The release of webOS Open Source Edition is meant to act as a catalyst to drive further adoption of webOS beyond LG televisions, smart refrigerators, and the occasional never-to-be-released smartwatch. So, devices like webOS tablets and set-top boxes as pictured in the LG-supplied image above.

This is the second time an open-source version of webOS has been released, the first coming under the failed tenure of HP back in 2011. LG’s cross-town rival Samsung develops and uses the open-sourced Tizen operating system on a variety of devices including smartwatches, televisions, Blu-ray players, and robotic…

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Move Misidentified Pictures Out of the People Album on iPhone

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I’ve been really enjoying the iOS Photos app lately, particularly the People Album. It’s pretty amazing, and convenient, that the iOS Photos app can scan every face in every image, then identify people and sort the pictures into their own respective People albums. Sometimes though, the Photos app gets ithe identification wrong and puts a friend or family member’s picture in the wrong People album. So what do we do when one of our photos has been misidentified and put in the wrong spot like this? Let’s learn how to take photos that have been put in the wrong People album back out of that album on iPhone.

Related: How to Add Uncategorized Photos to the People Album on iPhone

Move Misidentified Pictures Out of the People Album on iPhone

  • Open the Photos app on your iPhone.
  • Click on the Album tab in the lower right corner.

ios photos apppeople album photos

  • Select your People album.
  • Tap on the person’s album that you’ve noticed a misidentified photo in.

pictures of people ios

  • Tap Show Faces to focus in on just the faces in each picture.
  • Tap on the photo that has been put in the wrong People album, then tap the Send icon at the bottom left of the screen.

show faces people albummove wrong picture out of people album

  • Scroll along the bottom menu bar, find and select Not This Person.

misidentified photo people album

Now the photo that was wrongly placed in your People album has been removed. 

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White House Video Game Violence Discussion Fails to Move the Needle

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President Donald Trump on Thursday met behind closed doors with several top video game industry executives, association representatives, politicians and others to discuss video game violence in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month. Among the scheduled attendees were Strauss Zelnick, CEO of TakeTwo Interactive Software, and Robert Altman, CEO of Zenimax Media, where Trump’s younger brother Robert sits on the board.
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Microsoft VP confirms move to replace short-lived Windows 10 S with ‘S Mode’ in 2019

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Microsoft will be moving away from offering Windows 10 S as a separate operating system release in favor of a built-in ‘S Mode,’ an executive has advised, confirming an earlier rumor it was looking to replace the stripped-down Windows version in favor of an option in full Windows 10 installations.
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Opening a bank is a genius move for Amazon

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Amazon is reportedly looking at getting into the retail banking space. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company is contemplating launching a new checking account that would cater to young people and “the unbanked” — those defined as having struggled to gain access to traditional financial services. Although not expected, there are three reasons why this move isn’t particularly shocking. Firstly, Amazon has fingers in a lot of pies — not just online retail, but also web services, payment processing, logistics, and more. What’s another? Especially in an industry that’s renowned for its excesses and the ludicrous profits. That…

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