November 23, 2020

Pecan Street’s Vehicle-to-Grid University Challenge

In October, Pecan Street launched a global competition for university students to develop a robust Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) control algorithm that optimizes residential fleets of electric vehicles for grid decarbonization and increased resiliency.

Challenge registration closed on October 31st, and we’re very pleased with our roster of registered teams! We had 31 teams register from 11 countries and 26 universities, including:

UC Berkeley, Cornell University, University of Oxford, University of Texas at Austin, Clemson University, Stanford University, Georgia Tech, Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile, University of British Columbia, University of Nevada Reno, North Carolina State University, Jeonbuk National University, Shanghai University of Electric Power, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Virginia, University of New South Wales, Christopher Newport University, University of Cadiz, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Texas A&M University, Technical University of Darmstadt, Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology, Concordia University, University of Sydney, University of Houston, and Illinois Institute of Technology.

The Challenge Seeks to Accelerate the Pace of this Critical Technology

V2G technology allows power to flow from the grid to an electric vehicle when the car battery is charging, and vice-versa, from the vehicle back to the grid. This allows V2G-equipped electric vehicles to act in aggregate as mobile power plants and individually as local energy arbitrage systems, which can improve the efficiency and value of intermittent renewable energy like solar and wind.

Recent announcements, like California’s phase-out of gas vehicles by 2035, demonstrate clear policy and market momentum toward vehicle electrification. V2G technology creates cross-sector benefits and the opportunity for an integrated, smarter, and cleaner transportation and electric grid system. While the capability now exists within most EV’s to enable V2G services for the grid (and for customers to be paid for those services), scalable V2G management systems have yet to materialize.

Pecan Street seeks to accelerate the pace of this critical technology solution through a new university challenge in which students can compete for a $2500 prize for the best V2G residential fleet management algorithm.

Competing teams will be given complimentary access to Pecan Street’s globally unique datasets on residential energy use, EV charging and PV generation as well as a simulation tool developed by Pecan Street’s engineers to test and refine their algorithms.

Pecan Street is one of the nation’s leading transportation electrification and V2G research organizations. With the installation at Pecan Street’s lab in 2018 of Texas first (and only) grid-connected V2G charging system combined with the EV charge data that Pecan Street has collected from hundreds of vehicles around the country for the past five years, competing students will have access to an unparalleled real-world testbed and a ground-truth simulation to unleash their innovation and creativity on solving this critical problem.

The V2G University Challenge is an invitation to the next generation of engineers to advance this pivotal research and to help make V2G technology a reality. For more information, visit the Challenge webpage here to read more about the Challenge, the competition rules, and to register.

And stay tuned for an announcement about the winning team in early 2021!

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