Greenbuddies tips – July 2021

 

Source: Adobe Stock

Vehicle-to-grid

The European Commission expects the amount of electric vehicles (EVs) in the EU to increase up to 190 mil. and over 64 % of electricity will be produced from renewables (RES) until 2050 [1]. Given the intermittent nature of the RES, the electrical grid requires some kind of storage in order to match generation and consumption at every instant. Until now the only large scale storage of electrical energy has been the pumped storage hydroelectric power plant. However, it cannot be built everywhere, it represents a big intervention into the environment and it is linked to huge investments.

Therefore, industry has been searching for an alternative solution and batteries were recognized as a viable option. Nevertheless, Li-ion batteries (which can survive large number of cycles) are particularly pricy despite the price having dropped over 80 % in the last decade.
As a result researchers in the late 90’s from University of Delaware have come up with an idea to utilize batteries from parked Evs, taking advantage of the fact that 95 % of personal cars on average are standing still in a parking lot. The concept had been given a name Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G).
Most of the current EVs allow only unidirectional flow of energy from the grid to an EV. Moreover, charging is not managed in any intelligent coordinated way and a driver simply starts the charging whenever needed. However, people tend to charge their cars in the same periods of day and if penetration of EVs in the fleet exceeds certain limit, the grid will face serious congestions. Thus, some kind of smart charging will become of vital importance.
The most advanced type of smart charging is V2G, where the time of charging is shifted in order to meet generation from RES and to avoid congestions in the grid and. Moreover, it can also support grid by injecting energy. Provision of other auxilliary services such as reactive power compensation is also possible.
For a long time the technology only existed within the bounds of scientific papers, but since 2015 pilot projects started to spread mainly within Europe. The strongest market for V2G is the United Kingdom at the moment, where large subsidies are in place. The British for instance, have put V2G-capable double-deckers in operation. Speaking of commercial R&D, the Nissan group is definitely the most active contributor to the concept.
Despite the large attention of academics, the technology is still facing an enormous amount of challenges where probably the most frequently mentioned one is the unknown impact on battery. Therefore, the concept is still waiting if it becomes a viable technology or a dead end.

Source: [1] A. Moser a A. Klettke, „European Commission. Effect of electromobility on the power system and the integration of RES S13 Report,“ June 2018. [Online].

Opening of the Swedish market

We are lucky that we can extend our working area to the beautiful north to Sweden. We realized four rooftop PVE projects with a total power of 1,1MWp. Three projects were located in Stockholm and its suburbs, one of them near Göteborg.

Sweden, however, is not a typical „solar country“. Despite this, there is much interest in the subject of green energy and the long summer days mean that it is still worthwhile. Most of the rooftop PVEs are situated on roofs of storage halls in logistic parks.
Two kinds of mounting systems have been used. Two of PVE were with Esdec Mounting Systems, two with Van Der Valk Solar Systems.
Our task was mounting the sub constructions, modules placement, and cable management. The main goal was to be done with all projects in one month. That´s why we had two assembly teams in Stockholm that were moving between the project locations dependent on the state of affairs with the material delivery.

An interesting diversion for our workers was to meet three baby seagulls nesting on the edge of one of the roofs.

The beautiful thing about Sweden is that you don’t have to go deep into nature to see a slice of life.

New Head of Sales Support on Board of Greenbuddies Charging

The Board of Greenbuddies Charging is constantly expanding with quality people and we decided to introduce our new Head of Sales Support in a short interview.

1) Hi Tomas, I remember very well that when we started talking about your future involvement with Greenbuddies Charging (GBC), you talked about your previous position at ComAp, where you were involved in renewables. What did that position actually entail and did you observe any parallels with your current work with us?

In ComAp I came accross renewables thanks to development of the mains protecion unit, at that time called NPU. For the company, this unit was an accessory, necessary for installations of biogas-engine driven generators in parallel with mains. At a certain point in time we noticed that sales of NPUs, yet still fraction of the complete company business, were growing faster than the CHP market itself. And upon closer inspection we found out that without much effort, the NPU became standard equipment for PV installations. This was simply because the utilities already knew it, trusted and recommended it. That was the time when I decided to join the team, whose task was to enter the unknown market in a controlled way. My responsilbility was to manage the redesign of NPU- that received a completely new look, the new name MainsPro and we did the development completely from scratch. Probably we did it right, beacuse in a few years MansPro became popular in many countries, from USA, through UK, Italy, Germany to Australia. At this point in time I was already responsible for the complete strategic team with a new challenge ahead: in the (for us) brand new market of renewable energy, build and later realize the strategy of global growth. Due to ComAp‘s main focus on combustion engines, this path led through hybrid applications in a concept of PV + diesel generators with addition of batteries, wind and cloud monitoring system. Usually in big island operations, which are quite frequent in remote areas of South America, Africa or Australia. When I was leaving ComAp, the development of universal control system for such hybrid power plants was finished and I think there are several pilot projects in operation nowadays.

2) What was the most difficult work situation you got into before Greenbuddies and how did it turn out?

Difficult to say, I have lots of ups and downs, did a lot of mistakes and got into a lot of uncomfortable situations, where I needed to find my way out. I’m happy to see the result behind me, so even in unpleaseant situations I try to forge into a positive outcome, be it an experience for myself at least. For example I had a difficult time starting up a business with my ex-colleague. In the beginning, we were both excited. He has developed the product, an industrial smart charger of starting batteries for big revolving engines. I had a box full of business cards, most of them of my friends from around the world. We knew the market, we knew where to go and where to order the production. Our first disillusion was to find out that our product costs almost ten times more than the competitive ones. We agreed we will not give up and develop a sharp competitive cannon, but the development took far too long. Probably my biggest mistake was my feeling of having lots of time for everything. Everything ended up at a dead end and we had to terminate the project. That was the time when I had a terrible feeling of wasted time and opportunity. But I’m sure that even this was a lesson I had to pass.

3) You’ve been working for GBC for almost two months now, so what are your impressions so far? What has surprised you pleasantly, and conversely, what did you really not expect at all?

GBC is a great bunch of people. I know that this goes a long way when it comes to building a company. Furthermore, I feel that we are sitting on a great opportunity, which has yet to seriously emerge and this feeling is also great. As projects are coming to GBC, there is more work and lot of those opporunities lead to successfull realization. This also does not happen by itself. And as the load increases, I feel the support within the team to make everything go the right way. When I was struggling to prepare my first offer, several good spirits suddenly emerged from time to time, be it guys from sales support or colleagues from other departments who were able to explain to me how to proceed further. Often I even did not have time to open my mouth and ask the question and yet the answer came right away! Hard to say the unexpected things. For example I worked late until 1 a.m. with Vasek Cubinek, to rewrite an offer into a format suitable for the customer, only to find out in the morning that the customer actually liked the original format better. I believe that even this is OK, this just happens. I cannot say this was unexpected ?.

4) In your spare time, you do sailing and have a skipper’s exam, among other things. Which waters do you like to go to most for this sport and how often do you usually succeed?

Being a freelancer, I sailed a lot as an instructor – courses, improvement or sport cruises. I also race in a regatta that I organize. I love to cruise with people, who love sailing and they want to study. I transfer whatever I know and I study together with them, because you are never 100% prerpared when it comes to sail the sea. Usually I go to Croatia. No remedy, it is the most accessible warm sea and it is wonderful. But I love sailing longer distances, „living with the boat“ for several days not seeing the shore. I sailed like this from Brittany, from Lisbon, from Spain over the Medditerranean to Italy or spending three weeks in Carribean. Every place is beautiful in a different way.

5) What subjects did you enjoy most at school?

Funny thing is, I don’t have memories of a favourite subject. This does not mean that it was bad in any way. I remember a gentleman, coming to substitute our lady teacher for one history lesson in 6th class. I hated history lessons. He started to tell the story, I think it was about the Czech Estates’ Uprising. Not sure precisely. But I’m pretty sure about finding myself in the middle of the story, which suddenly turned into colourful and interesting novel, being told by the elderly guy. Precisely because it is a real story, unlike e.g. fantasy novels, where somehow nobody questions that the story is thrilling. Yet, looking at the Europe’s history, this is such an amazing fantasy saga of millions of layers, carrying big and small stories, grown one through another! I will never forget this lesson. For the first and for long also for the last time, I loved a history lesson!

6) Are you going to tell us something about yourself that you haven’t told anyone else?

I sometimes get pretty chatty, so it is quite a difficult job to find something I never told to anyone. And in case there is something like that, it is probably to stay untold. ?

Tom thanks for the interview, we wish you good luck and success in Greenbuddies Charging.

Tom: I thank you!