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Nissan shoots for EV battery revolution

Date: 17 July 2018   |   Author: Sean Keywood

A football stadium in the Netherlands has become home to technology that could one day be a game-changer for fleets. Sean Keywood reports.

The prospect of electric vehicle (EV) company car fleets helping to power their drivers' workplace may have come a step closer following the switch-on of a groundbreaking project.

At the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam, a 3MW storage system - enough to power several thousand homes - has been installed using second-hand and new Nissan
Leaf batteries.

The energy storage system will provide backup power to the stadium, reducing the use of diesel generators, and provide relief to the energy grid by flattening the peaks in demand that occur during concerts.

As well as using stand-alone batteries, the stadium will also be taking power from EVs that are still on the road, with Leafs parked at the stadium able to connect to the system via bidirectional charge points.

These mean that as well as being charged, the vehicles' batteries can help power the stadium during peak periods via vehicle-to-grid technology.

Together, the stadium system offers a glimpse of a potential future where businesses with EV fleets could use them to help power their buildings, during the lifetime of the vehicles and afterwards.

Nissan Energy managing director Francisco Carranza said, "We are delighted to be part of Europe's largest energy storage system developed for a commercial building.

"Thanks to the Johan Cruijff Arena, we can demonstrate that repurposing the batteries of electric vehicles can contribute to make the whole energy system more efficient and sustainable."

Johan Cruijff Arena director of innovation Henk van Raan said, "Thanks to this energy storage system, the stadium will be able to use its own sustainable energy more intelligently and, as Amsterdam Energy Arena BV, it can trade in the batteries' available storage capacity.

"The arena is assured of a considerable amount of power, even during an outage."

To deliver the system at the stadium, Nissan has collaborated with partners including power management company Eaton, building management business BAM, and charging company The Mobility House.

When asked how well the second-hand Leaf batteries would hold up, Carranza said they would still retain most of their capabilities even following the full life of the vehicle.

He said, "Batteries in cars are designed for an extreme application and are

"We are going to have at least 70% of the storage capacity remaining in the battery after the car's lifetime of ten to 15 years. At that point, you will dispose of the shell and retain the battery. 

"We believe this is very important. If the product is still usable, we prefer to repurpose it into a different application."

The batteries at the stadium, which will also help to optimise the energy generated by its 4,200 solar panels, are expected to work at their stated capacity for at least ten years, and most likely for five or six more after that. 

The vehicle-to-grid capability is set to start with the capacity to connect 18 vehicles, but the long-term goal is to raise this to 200.

The switching on of the stadium system follows the announcement by Nissan earlier this year of a large-scale demonstration project targeting 1,000 vehicle-to-grid installations in the UK.

The chargers involved will be controlled by an aggregator, and data will be collected to understand the technical characteristics of vehicle-to-grid charging for the vehicles and the electricity networks.

Installations for the project are expected to start in the fourth quarter of this year.

Nissan says the potential benefits of vehicle-to-grid charging for businesses include savings in electricity bills and revenue generation, with the company working towards offering vehicles with 'free driving electricity'.

It also says EVs and vehicle-to-grid technology help improve the capability to handle non-programmable renewable energy flows, making renewable sources more widely integrated and affordable, and creates the prospect of a 'virtual power plant' with EVs fully integrated into the grid.