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Driving V2G technology forward

Partnership between University of Delaware and Nuvve Corp. will accelerate changes in energy and transportation

University of Delaware

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IMAGE: UD and the Nuvve Corporation have expanded their collaboration, which allows Nuvve to use UD technology in electric vehicles that can charge or discharge their batteries when connected to the... view more 

Credit: Nuvve Corporation

The University of Delaware has expanded its collaboration with Nuvve Corporation, owner of the revolutionary vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology developed at the University, to further accelerate changes in energy and transportation.

The technology, already in commercial use in several areas of the world, points to a future where vehicles will routinely draw and discharge energy to the power grid.

Nuvve, a Delaware company based in California, gained exclusive global rights to market the technology in 2016.

"Our partnership with Nuvve Corporation demonstrates the University of Delaware's abiding commitment to cutting-edge research and innovation. This collaboration opens up new horizons for synergizing the strengths of academia and industry in charting the future of clean and sustainable energy," UD President Dennis Assanis said. "The University of Delaware's students and researchers are--and will continue to be--a major force in the global transportation revolution."

Electric vehicles with the UD-pioneered technology can charge or discharge their batteries back to the electric grid. The software aggregates all vehicles plugged into the system so that they perform in unison, helping to balance the grid's supply of electricity with demand--in real time, on a second-to-second basis. Conventional power plants take several minutes to respond to grid demands.

"The practical development of vehicle-to-grid technology at UD has evolved over many years, demonstrating the tremendous value of long-term thinking and sustained investment in research," said Charlie Riordan, UD's vice president for research, scholarship and innovation. "Our partnership with Nuvve helps secure the next phase of that research leadership and brings it even closer to broad availability on the vehicle market. This is a tangible example of UD's entrepreneurial approach to addressing society's most pressing needs."

Under the new agreement, Nuvve--led by CEO Gregory Poilasne--will hold the patents to the V2G technology and UD will hold an equity share in the early stage company. Additionally, UD will establish an advanced R&D center to expand its leadership in this technology.

"A major transition is underway in the world, and the University of Delaware is right at the forefront," said David Weir, director of UD's Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP). "The technology pioneered here at UD will further accelerate the disruption that's taking place and shake up the transportation marketplace."

Pioneering visionary

The visionary behind the V2G technology is Willett Kempton, research director of UD's Center for Carbon-free Power Integration and a professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE).

Kempton recognized the potential of V2G more than 20 years ago--in 1996--and became further intrigued with the idea of using electric vehicle batteries to help balance the power grid as intermittent clean energy sources (such as solar and wind) come online. He worked with a team of UD researchers and students including Fouad Kiamilev, a professor in UD's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Rodney McGee, lead electrical engineer on the project, to develop the electric V2G concept, both the software and hardware. UD launched the world's first revenue-generating V2G project at the University's main campus in Newark, Delaware, in 2013.

"It's rewarding to see an idea I dreamed up, and that our team has strived to make work reliably in practice, being implemented commercially across many countries," said Kempton, who also is a co-founder and chief technology officer at Nuvve.

Through the expanded partnership with Nuvve, UD will establish an R&D center, which Nuvve will support with at least $400,000 per year for the next seven years. The center will encompass work on the grid-integrated software and hardware in UD's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, policy work and software underway in the University's Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory and in CEOE, and automobile testing at UD's Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus.

"V2G technology represents the future, and evolution of clean energy and this investment will position our students to be pioneers in the field," said Kiamilev.

Electric vehicles currently make up less than two percent of the vehicle market worldwide. That is changing, though. Nuvve's Poilasne said electric vehicles are expected to permeate the global marketplace in the next three to five years.

"UD faculty and students are at the epicenter of it all. UD R&D must continue to 'push the envelope' on vehicle grid integration," Poilasne said.

Weir said this research also fits perfectly with shared goals for job creation in Delaware.

"I believe it's the opening of a new job market, a whole new economic sector that will require a whole new set of job skills, for example, electricians and mechanics, and professional disciplines such as software engineers," Weir said.

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