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E-Cars as power grid stabilizers -- a pipe dream?

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cbonfiglio
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re: E-Cars as power grid stabilizers -- a pipe dream?
cbonfiglio   3/20/2009 2:06:52 PM
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I have to say I disagree with the position of the article. I think the idea of using these batteries to the full extent of their technical potential is the idea behind PHEVs and EVs as grid stabilization. I believe there are two major trends which you have miscalculated that will contribute to the success of the idea. One is the advancement of software which will coordinate the transfer of eneryg to and from the grid, and two is the altruistic nature of the younger generation now reaching its early and mid-twenties, a big market for these vehicles in the next ten years. The software which will be placed in the vehicle, at companies like Better Place, and at the grid operators will be of cutting edge technology on the level of companies such as Google. Its ability to track your daily routes, predict your patterns and energy usage, will allow it decide when and how much energy it can put back on the grid without affecting your user experience. Think of typing in any jumble of words into the little box on Google and how it magically predicts what you want to see, sometimes even having only typed the first 4 letters. It does this with accuracies in the 90% range, and the software controlling the energy in your batteries will do the same. In the event it gets it wrong, or you have an unplanned trip, swap the battery. My second point about the nature of the up and coming generation of vehicle buyers comments on your idea that people won't be bothered to sell electricity back to the grid. I believe there is a growth in the altruistic nature of the 'millenial' generation as well as all generations of consumers who would most likely buy these vehicles in the next ten years. It plays a role in the careers they choose, the projects they work on, and the products they purchase. Will there be a switch to turn off selling energy to grid? I assume so, but will most PHEV and EV owners turn it off? I doubt it, especially if there is a finanacial gain, even if only pennies at a time. As for the energy companies buying their own batteries, this is of course happening. Have a look on every major battery manufacturer's website and you will see grid stabilization as a target market. The point is, how many of the batteries do we have to have in the world. Is it all a bit idealistic? Yeah, probably, but it is not short on realistic.

colum
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re: E-Cars as power grid stabilizers -- a pipe dream?
colum   3/11/2009 11:41:17 PM
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why not plug in the car and just feed the excess power back into the home? No business model complexity in that.

bullardrr
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re: E-Cars as power grid stabilizers -- a pipe dream?
bullardrr   3/11/2009 7:15:18 PM
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Many good points presented, except it IS possible to connect the dots from where we are today (in terms of the article and preceding comment). The electric power grid o the North America, in its full extent, is more probably more rigid (in the Amory Lovins sense) than any of our other major infrastructure entities. The highways, railroads and the commercial air system do a far better job of connecting CA to GA than the electric power grid. Fixing the grid smartly, putting 50 kwhr per day of PV on every single family detached residential roof that has a plug HEV and smart griding it into a grid getting another 50 kwhr per day from another renewable source is just the beginning, for when battery technolog(Some R and D batteries are approaching 1 kw per kg with almost no memory effect) matures, the folks who are members of, for example, the Danish EDISON project, have the means and incentive to put it all together in an integrated grid/surface transporation system. It will not be cheap or overnight, but it must be done. Skepticism is one thing, but the preceding article and comment represent some pretty serious minimalist perspectives.

msd1107
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re: E-Cars as power grid stabilizers -- a pipe dream?
msd1107   3/10/2009 6:09:58 PM
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You are exactly correct, and for many more reasons. The electric grid is capacity constrained at times. The electric industry is converting from old generation highly polluting electric generation to a new generation of lower pollution generators. However, for the foreseeable future, all low pollution electricity is fully committed. Thus any electricity that charges car batteries can be assumed to come from the most highly polluting sources, coal, nuclear, name your poison. The automobile is a highly regulated source of pollution, often emitting at a level less than the ambient air. Conversely, electric generators emit high levels of pollutants including excess CO2, particulates, heavy metals, haze, heat, etc. In addition coal mining generated is own form of pollution. Gasoline is a very efficient form of energy, being some 200 time as efficient as a battery. That is why gasoline cars normally have a range of greater than 300 miles per tank, while EV proponents hope to get 40 to 100 mile ranges. A bettery with the same energy storage as a 10 gallon gasoline tank would weigh more than 10000 lbs. Finally, cars burning gasoline pay use taxes to maintain the highways. EVs do not pay any in lieu tax, so are cheating the American people.

Peter Clarke
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re: E-Cars as power grid stabilizers -- a pipe dream?
Peter Clarke   3/2/2009 2:02:28 PM
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But is it not the case that hydrogen for automobile fuel is not well regarded...because of the additional energy burden of having to cool and pressurize the hydrogen?

w_greene
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re: E-Cars as power grid stabilizers -- a pipe dream?
w_greene   2/27/2009 6:53:17 PM
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A simpler system would be to use excess capacity in the grid to generate hydrogen through electrolysis. Build hydrogen powered cars. Hydrogen production through electrolysis is still inefficient but it gives the excess power somewhere to go, and can be balanced with grid load. The produced hydrogen can then be sold for auto fuel.

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