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(BBC-US)   UK energy company tests program to allow electric cars to serve as power banks for homes. It's sort of like charging your laptop with your phone   (bbc.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, pilot scheme, BBC News, Electric vehicle, electric car owners, energy company OVO, Automobile, BBC Click's Lara Lewington, Electric charge  
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228 clicks; posted to STEM » and Main » on 25 Nov 2020 at 12:03 PM (14 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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ZAZ [TotalFark]
2020-11-25 10:21:54 AM  
Decide you want to take a drive in late afternoon and find your car is discharged because the grid bought the "excess" power.
 
2020-11-25 11:03:39 AM  

ZAZ: Decide you want to take a drive in late afternoon and find your car is discharged because the grid bought the "excess" power.


Yeah, a self discharging car sounds like a brilliant idea.

eyeroll
 
2020-11-25 11:04:22 AM  
I get it now. ...

The house plugs in to the car for power. Then you plug the car in to the house to keep it charged!

Brilliant!
 
2020-11-25 11:29:24 AM  
In 2006 we stayed at a small tourist compound/B&B in Kent and they had a pretty big battery array in a closet. I had never seen anything like it in the US, but they explained that with energy prices being so high, it was a system that paid for itself within a few years (especially with multiple buildings). The battery would charge from 9pm to 5am or something like that, then supplement the grid throughout the day as needed.

Sounds like this is just a clever workaround for people with EVs, but the cost of a mistake seems pretty high.

"Sorry, boss, I'm going to be a few hours late. My house ate my car battery."
 
2020-11-25 11:32:40 AM  
It would make more sense to use idle locomotives as power banks.
 
2020-11-25 2:50:34 PM  
Ah yes, the old, "lets wear down the most expensive battery in the house that most relies on battery health as fast as we can to support the cheapest power source because the government doesn't want to make it actually reliable" routine.
 
2020-11-25 5:01:51 PM  

NikolaiFarkoff: In 2006 we stayed at a small tourist compound/B&B in Kent and they had a pretty big battery array in a closet. I had never seen anything like it in the US, but they explained that with energy prices being so high, it was a system that paid for itself within a few years (especially with multiple buildings). The battery would charge from 9pm to 5am or something like that, then supplement the grid throughout the day as needed.

Sounds like this is just a clever workaround for people with EVs, but the cost of a mistake seems pretty high.

"Sorry, boss, I'm going to be a few hours late. My house ate my car battery."


Yeah, but?
I remember listening to grownups plan car trips one summer in the early 70's. while I crayoned at the table.

You plan for a trip and you monitor your resources to cover it.

Then there is the reality that a lot of folk aren't going to be driving into work anymore. One thing seems to be coming out of the pandemic: home, a lot. I think a lot of that is going to develop into "by choice" or even "as a perk".

I'm not current (snerk) on technology (we're considering solar, idly) but a system that flows between house and car seems like there would be alerts or monitors?

Clearly, our collective approach to energy is going to be a lot of patchwork effort. Solar here, wind there, batteries somewhere else.

Besides, "the house ate my car battery" would be entirely sane compared to some other reasons (mine tops out at "I dropped my keys down the elevator shaft") and, hey, Uber, right? Cab? Bus?

I'd worry about fire, though.
 
2020-11-25 5:45:59 PM  
I could see this feature being welcomed in parts of the US that get power cuts from storms, tornados, earthquake etc. No power for a couple of days? Have a Tesla or Prius? That'll be enough to keep your freezer, some lights and the TV going. I've read of people hacking a Prius to do exactly that, with of course the engine starting up if and when needed.
 
2020-11-25 6:57:09 PM  
This is at least 8 years old.

Nissan, for its LEAF, particularly made a big deal about being able to plug anything in your home into an extension cord run to your car. I think the limit was 1 kW, which is pretty standard for this kind of thing. And I have met people who bragged about the following. Nissan had a deal where, if you bought a LEAF, they would give you free public charging at Chargedemo for a year. So the buyer would buy the car, get the subsidy, go and charge the car, and then rush home to run their household appliances "for free" from the battery. Presumably, they would do the same the next day and the next. I am not kidding. That was years ago.

Because I live in an area affected by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, this ability to run home appliances has been a full on sales point for many years. People can have security against blackouts, even though we have not had a strong quake for over 9 years, and no blackout for about exactly 9 years.

My car will also run appliances. It will go up to 2 kW. This is not a big deal. It comes in handy, to be sure, but I would not use it daily. I also have alternatives for emergencies.
 
2020-11-25 7:14:16 PM  

NikolaiFarkoff: In 2006 we stayed at a small tourist compound/B&B in Kent and they had a pretty big battery array in a closet. I had never seen anything like it in the US, but they explained that with energy prices being so high, it was a system that paid for itself within a few years (especially with multiple buildings). The battery would charge from 9pm to 5am or something like that, then supplement the grid throughout the day as needed.

Sounds like this is just a clever workaround for people with EVs, but the cost of a mistake seems pretty high.

"Sorry, boss, I'm going to be a few hours late. My house ate my car battery."


I do not know what they are paying for electricity in Kent, but I doubt the math works out for them. Kent is in South-east England, so their average mains pricing is 18.3p/kWh. I am going to make the generous ASSUMPTION that their peak is 18.3p and that their offpeak is only a THIRD of that, or 6.1p.   A battery the size of a closet will be, to be generous, of about 10 kWh capacity. Therefore, at a maximum throughput, charging and discharging this battery every day, they can save 12.2p x 10 kWh per day, right? Right? That is 1.22 quid, mate. Per day. So that is 1.22 x 365 x 10 years  or 4453 pounds saved over 10 years. Maximum.

So when their battery reaches its warranty duration in 10 years, they will have saved 4453 pounds. They can buy another battery to replace the old one, or, if its capacity degrades, they can get back, say 7 kWh of electricity for every 10 kWh thereafter. Either way, the math just gets worse.

But the more important question is this. If Elon Musk estimates that an installed 7 kWh PowerWall is going to cost 10,000 bucks. Did this guy in Kent England REALLY GET a 10 kWh battery purchased, installed, and running for 4453 pounds?

Nope. He likely paid north of 10,000 pounds. Don't forget the VAT.

So he has already lost money. This IDIOT entered a contract where there was NO WAY he was going to get his money back. He pissed it away. And he did it because he was greedy and thought he was going to rip off his utility to make some scratch.
 
2020-11-25 7:29:56 PM  

dyhchong: Ah yes, the old, "lets wear down the most expensive battery in the house that most relies on battery health as fast as we can to support the cheapest power source because the government doesn't want to make it actually reliable" routine.


This post is very good at showing how ass-backwards this winds up being. When charging the car, you are going from AC to DC (loss) then you have some loss in storage, then you convert from DC to AC (loss) and if you are running a computer, you have to go AC to DC again (loss). A daisy chain of losses!

The only way this makes sense is if batteries are subsidized and/or the electricity going into charging your car is "free."  Actually, from what I understand, charging is free at many locations in the US? I think I see a "tragedy of the commons" storm a-brewin'.  How long before people start charging their EVs and using their batteries to offset their home utility bills and to stick it to the man?

It is EV utopia.

Is this creating a resource, or is it just exploiting a pricing irregularity?
 
2020-11-25 11:44:07 PM  

2fardownthread: dyhchong: Ah yes, the old, "lets wear down the most expensive battery in the house that most relies on battery health as fast as we can to support the cheapest power source because the government doesn't want to make it actually reliable" routine.

This post is very good at showing how ass-backwards this winds up being. When charging the car, you are going from AC to DC (loss) then you have some loss in storage, then you convert from DC to AC (loss) and if you are running a computer, you have to go AC to DC again (loss). A daisy chain of losses!

The only way this makes sense is if batteries are subsidized and/or the electricity going into charging your car is "free."  Actually, from what I understand, charging is free at many locations in the US? I think I see a "tragedy of the commons" storm a-brewin'.  How long before people start charging their EVs and using their batteries to offset their home utility bills and to stick it to the man?

It is EV utopia.

Is this creating a resource, or is it just exploiting a pricing irregularity?


Regarding the wear on the battery, it depends on how hard you cycle it.  Even if you pull 5 kW from the battery, that's probably not as hard as driving it (depending on how you drive, etc.).  If the vehicle to grid scheme is to just shift whatever usage you have during peak times to off-peak times, so it doesn't look like you're using any power during those times because the car is supplying just enough, it's probably not too much of a problem.

For efficiency, yes you do incur losses during the different steps, but modern power conversion is pretty efficient.  I wouldn't be surprised if it's over 90% for the inverter/charger in the car, and it will probably be higher at higher loads.  (Think 5 kW vs 500 watts.)  Your computer's supply is going to have those losses anyway.  Modern technology tends to require lots of different voltages, and your computer or whatever probably has multiple converters cascaded anyways.

It also depends a lot on if utilities decide to incentivize this.  With more people installing solar, it might be worth it to correct imbalances at the customer side, and thus pay people to install home storage.
 
2020-11-26 4:05:32 AM  
linuxpyro: It also depends a lot on if utilities decide to incentivize this.  With more people installing solar, it might be worth it to correct imbalances at the customer side, and thus pay people to install home storage.

The other useful part is that it allows local 'generation' instead of using the cross-country power lines to provide the power.  The electricity is being pre-stored locally, instead of being produced and transmitted on demand.

For example, if one set of cross-country power lines can only handle 200,000 houses running air conditioning, and 250,000 houses want/need AC, then the power company may have to buy capacity on other power lines to provide the extra power (raising their costs).  A second option is having the option to turn off air conditioning on a rolling cycle (20 minutes off, 40 minutes on).  A third option is if they put a bunch of batteries in people's homes, then the batteries can discharge power into the grid where the demand is to help deal with the peak demand without needing to transmit that power over the long-distance lines.

Without the batteries (or controlling the air conditioning remotely), the cross-country power lines might have to deliver anywhere from 100,000 homes to 250,000 homes worth of power for AC.  With the batteries the power lines may have to deliver anywhere from 180,000 to 200,000 homes worth of power.  This avoids the company needing to upgrade the power lines for the rare peak loads.

The key is that the power company is the one buying and installing the batteries instead of the customer, which means the power company handles all the financing, installation, and risks.

https://www.portlandgeneral.com/our-c​o​mpany/news-room/news-releases/2020/07-​01-2020-pge-program-will-transform-hun​dreds-of-homes-into-a-virtual-power-pl​
 
2020-11-26 9:38:40 AM  

Cthushi: linuxpyro: It also depends a lot on if utilities decide to incentivize this.  With more people installing solar, it might be worth it to correct imbalances at the customer side, and thus pay people to install home storage.

The other useful part is that it allows local 'generation' instead of using the cross-country power lines to provide the power.  The electricity is being pre-stored locally, instead of being produced and transmitted on demand.

For example, if one set of cross-country power lines can only handle 200,000 houses running air conditioning, and 250,000 houses want/need AC, then the power company may have to buy capacity on other power lines to provide the extra power (raising their costs).  A second option is having the option to turn off air conditioning on a rolling cycle (20 minutes off, 40 minutes on).  A third option is if they put a bunch of batteries in people's homes, then the batteries can discharge power into the grid where the demand is to help deal with the peak demand without needing to transmit that power over the long-distance lines.

Without the batteries (or controlling the air conditioning remotely), the cross-country power lines might have to deliver anywhere from 100,000 homes to 250,000 homes worth of power for AC.  With the batteries the power lines may have to deliver anywhere from 180,000 to 200,000 homes worth of power.  This avoids the company needing to upgrade the power lines for the rare peak loads.

The key is that the power company is the one buying and installing the batteries instead of the customer, which means the power company handles all the financing, installation, and risks.

https://www.portlandgeneral.com/our-co​mpany/news-room/news-releases/2020/07-​01-2020-pge-program-will-transform-hun​dreds-of-homes-into-a-virtual-power-pl​


Sure. This happens. In fact, it is big in Japan, where a lot of rural communities are getting hollowed out. The utilities, with existing grids that have to be supported, but which do not justify maintenance or upgrade. Usually something besides batteries is tried, such as some kind of small generating facility or biomass plant, but there have been cases where batteries have been used. Demand, for instance at night, pretty well sticks to a predictable pattern, so everything can be scaled.

This is not what the article is talking about. And this is not what is installed in Kent, UK, which one poster was describing. As you said, a utility will do this to limit its costs. Certainly this is a good use case for batteries.
 
2020-11-26 10:31:44 AM  

linuxpyro: 2fardownthread: dyhchong: Ah yes, the old, "lets wear down the most expensive battery in the house that most relies on battery health as fast as we can to support the cheapest power source because the government doesn't want to make it actually reliable" routine.

This post is very good at showing how ass-backwards this winds up being. When charging the car, you are going from AC to DC (loss) then you have some loss in storage, then you convert from DC to AC (loss) and if you are running a computer, you have to go AC to DC again (loss). A daisy chain of losses!

The only way this makes sense is if batteries are subsidized and/or the electricity going into charging your car is "free."  Actually, from what I understand, charging is free at many locations in the US? I think I see a "tragedy of the commons" storm a-brewin'.  How long before people start charging their EVs and using their batteries to offset their home utility bills and to stick it to the man?

It is EV utopia.

Is this creating a resource, or is it just exploiting a pricing irregularity?

Regarding the wear on the battery, it depends on how hard you cycle it.  Even if you pull 5 kW from the battery, that's probably not as hard as driving it (depending on how you drive, etc.).  If the vehicle to grid scheme is to just shift whatever usage you have during peak times to off-peak times, so it doesn't look like you're using any power during those times because the car is supplying just enough, it's probably not too much of a problem.

For efficiency, yes you do incur losses during the different steps, but modern power conversion is pretty efficient.  I wouldn't be surprised if it's over 90% for the inverter/charger in the car, and it will probably be higher at higher loads.  (Think 5 kW vs 500 watts.)  Your computer's supply is going to have those losses anyway.  Modern technology tends to require lots of different voltages, and your computer or whatever probably has multiple converters cascaded anyways.

It ...


oh my..... The inefficiencies are not additive. They are multiplicative.

Here is one you did not consider.

With battery degradation, a 10 kWh battery will drop to having only 7 kWh capacity, say. But it will still take 10 kWh to charge. So the more you use a battery, the more it is degraded. That is an inescapable fact. And the more it is degraded, the more you lose to inefficiency ON EACH CYCLE. And the lower your battery efficiency, the more they cycle, right? Your only way out is to not use the battery!

So if a utility wants to charge and discharge your battery three times a day and pay you, even say 2 bucks a day, which is WOW! A lot! At 10 cents per kWh, that would be 20 kWh per day. That would come to 7000 dollars over 10 years. Did they pay for your battery? You had better hope so. Because your battery will be shot.

But it is worse than that. As your battery degrades and degrades, you will be charged the full amount for what you personally put into your battery, but you might only get 70% or 50% back. Your range anxiety just went up 100% because your Leaf will not go 300 km anymore, but maybe, 200 km? Then  you can pay full price (plus tax!) to charge it up and get back 60 cents on the dollar for what you paid to charge it.

You see what happens when people treat these expensive batteries as toys? Money pit. You don't control the battery. The battery controls you! You will keep losing money because you have no choice.
 
2020-11-26 3:39:41 PM  
So sad. They're missing a trick by not equipping the houses with regenerative brakes.
 
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