The Sustainable Energy Technologies is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed international conference on sustainable sources and technologies. The 18th edition of this event was hosted by the University Sains Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. This event congregated around 200 academics and practitioners from different countries, who are working in energy technologies and renewables, energy storage and conversion, low carbon buildings and sustainable cities, and policies and management.
During the conference, concerns were repeatedly expressed by different speakers regarding Climate Change. According to Professor Matthaios Santamouris from the University of New South Wales (Australia), if global temperature increases 1°C, this will significantly affect the efficiency of energy generation. For every 1°C increment of the global temperature, we will need to add 3.7% to the energy infrastructure in order to fulfil the demand on air conditioning. Moreover, it is estimated that deprived urban zones and vulnerable populations will be the most affected with global warming. As exposure to high ambient temperatures is a serious health hazard, it is estimated that people living in warmer neighbourhoods within cities have 6% higher risks of mortality.
Professor AbuBakr Bahaj from the University of Southampton (UK), said that we are moving towards the decarbonisation of the energy sector. In this transition wind and solar energy are becoming the main sources of energy. However, to make this technology deployment feasible political determination is required, such as the 2050’s net zero carbon emissions target announced by the UK government.
I had the opportunity to present the paper “Towards an electric revolution: a review on vehicle-to-grid (V2G), smart charging and user behaviour”. As it is widely reported, the transport sector alone is responsible for 20.5% of the global emissions, and electric vehicles are becoming an option to decarbonise the transport system. However, this transition to electric mobility will bring new challenges to the energy grid. Early studies from 2002 reported the benefits of integrating two different but compatible energy conversion systems: vehicles and the energy grid. This integration occurs with the “vehicle-to-grid” technology, which allows bidirectional charging and discharging. This two-way communication system gives to the vehicles the capability to feed into the energy grid.
In our paper we presented the analysis of three trends occurring over the last decade that are enabling vehicle-to-grid to be deployed nowadays: 1) the increasing interest of the scientific community on vehicle-to-grid: only 14 journal papers were published about vehicle-to-grid during 2009 (Scopus), compared to 277 journal papers published during 2018; 2) the increasing uptake of electric vehicles: 10,000 ultra-low emission vehicles were registered in the UK during 2010, and it is expected that around 250,000 vehicles will be registered by the end of 2019; and 3) the shift towards renewable energy: the renewable sources used to generate electricity in the UK reached nearly 5,000 GWh during 2007; this generation from solar and wind sources increased up to 60,000 GWh during 2017.
The main benefits of vehicle-to-grid reported by several academics are: the capacity to support the energy grid by regulating the peak demand, the integration of intermittent renewable sources of energy by coordinated charging strategies, the possibility of providing fast response energy storage without requiring an expensive infrastructure, the economic incentives for the end user generated by selling the energy to the grid and the optimisation of the energy price by creating new business models.
On the other hand, several barriers affecting the development of vehicle-to-grid have been identified such as the anxiety over battery performance and degradation, lack of scientific consensus regarding the cost/benefit, and the fact that uncoordinated charging modes of electric vehicles can increase power loss, elevate load peaks and increase the energy cost.
This paper highlights the relevance of real-world demonstrators such as EV-elocity that will allow overcome the barriers of V2G. EV-elocity is a research and development project that will support the uptake of electric vehicles through helping consumers to monetise their investment using vehicle-to-grid innovation. This project is exploring new technologies, encouraging behaviour change and developing business models that will enable sharing the value V2G can bring to the grid, local and regional business and the consumer.
This conference was a great opportunity to discuss with academics from around the world the latest developments to address the challenges of sustainable growth, renewable energy and clean transport. As mentioned by Professor Bahaj “cities will need to migrate from fossil fuel energy to renewables” and “policy must be made on science-based data”.
You can download the full paper here.