Environmental Effects of Vehicle-to-Grid Charging in Future Energy Systems – a Prospective Life Cycle Assessment

28 Pages Posted: 29 Feb 2024

See all articles by Daniela Wohlschlager

Daniela Wohlschlager

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Stephan Kigle

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Vanessa Schindler

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Magnus Fröhling

Technische Universität München (TUM)

Anika Neitz-Regett

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging is increasingly recognized as a concept that uses BEVs as flexible storage options. Applications of V2G aim towards technical and economic benefits from the system and end-user perspectives. Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) on BEVs indicate that charging strategies potentially reduce operational emissions. Besides evaluating environmental effects on the ‘technology level’, the literature recommends considering impacts on the ‘system level’ caused by a diffusion of the investigated technology. For novel charging strategies, this includes repercussions on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of electricity generation. When analyzing such future scenarios, a prospective LCA (pLCA) allows us to consider technological developments. By determining the systemic consequences and associated impacts on the technology level, this work aims toward a holistic evaluation of V2G charging. First, we present a framework that combines energy system modeling and a comparative pLCA to assess medium and long-term effects. Applied to two cost-minimized climate policy scenarios of Germany, i.e., with and without the option of V2G charging, the article outlines repercussions on the electricity system from 2025 to 2045. Since the GHG intensity of electricity per hour of (dis)charging is decisive for the impact of BEVs, the article provides GHG emissions in an hourly resolution. This allows determining the impact per charging strategy on the technology level compared to conventional passenger cars in the second part of the study. Despite the insignificant effects on total GHG emissions by 2045, V2G charging accelerates decarbonizing electricity generation in the medium-term (2030 – 2035). When assessing the impact on BEVs, V2G causes substantial reductions. By 2030, operational emissions decrease between  50% and almost  200% compared to uncontrolled charging (144 kgCO2e/BEV). These potentials depend on the allocation of GHG savings reached through the secondary purpose of BEVs, i.e., a storage option for the energy system. With the ongoing decarbonization of electricity, however, the potential of V2G to reduce operational GHG emissions decreases, and the production phase gains importance. Regarding long-term contributions, substituting 117 GWh of stationary batteries indicates a reduction in raw material demands. Overall, combining the system and technology levels in a prospective assessment enhances the understanding of environmental effects caused by a large-scale diffusion of V2G charging. Researchers can further apply the outlined method for assessing use cases in other geographical scopes and time frames.

Keywords: battery electric vehicle, Bidirectional charging, electromobility, life cycle assessment, energy system modelling, SDG7

Suggested Citation

Wohlschlager, Daniela and Kigle, Stephan and Schindler, Vanessa and Fröhling, Magnus and Neitz-Regett, Anika, Environmental Effects of Vehicle-to-Grid Charging in Future Energy Systems – a Prospective Life Cycle Assessment. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4743259 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4743259

Daniela Wohlschlager (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Stephan Kigle

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Vanessa Schindler

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Magnus Fröhling

Technische Universität München (TUM) ( email )

Anika Neitz-Regett

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

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