A North London bus garage is set to become a 'virtual power station’, generating electricity from buses when not in use. Following a transformation of the garag’e capacity, to house nearly 100 new zero-emission electric buses, Northumberland Park is now one of the biggest electric bus facilities in Europe. The project, called Bus2Grid, is believed to be the world’s largest vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial site.
V2G technology enables energy stored in an electric vehicle’s battery to be fed back into the electricity network as part of its stabilising and demand management mechanism. The potential for harnessing the battery power of the London bus fleet of around 9000 vehicles is significant.
The Bus2Grid project will be led by SSE Enterprise. The initial trial will use the batteries of 28 state-of-the-art double decker buses, capable of returning over 1MW energy to the grid.
Bus2Grid will explore both the commercial value and social benefits to the energy and passenger transportation systems by developing services for the national grid, regional distribution network operators, bus operators and transport authorities. The development and test of the underpinning technology is also an important objective of the trial.
Niall Riddell, Smart Systems Innovation Sector director for SSE Enterprise, said: “Central to the challenge of decarbonising our transport and achieving climate change targets is how we can optimise the existing flexibility within the energy system. Developing a charging infrastructure that operates in two directions so that batteries can give back as well as take from the grid is an important part of this. Delivering the Bus2Grid project is the next natural step in using smart technology to make bi-directional charging the reality for today’s bus users.”
Dr Stephen Hall from the University of Leeds, one of the project partners, said: “Electrifying transport will have huge benefits for air quality in cities and for meeting our climate change commitments. Large electric vehicles like these can also support the energy system, but this means creating new ways of working between energy utilities, grid managers, and transport providers. This project is creating new business models to make this happen.”
The three-year trial is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) with the support of Innovate UK. The Bus2Grid project is being led by SSE Enterprise and supported by a partnership including bus manufacturer Build Your Dreams/Alexander Dennis Limited (BYDADL), TfL, bus operator Go Ahead Group, electricity distribution network UK Power Networks, Leeds University and Scotland-based Alexander Dennis with aggregation of the buses supported by Origami.