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2004/05 PPL Challenges

PPL Challenge #1: Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Electric Powered Vehicles

PPL Challenge #2: Loss of Eastern Hemlocks to the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

PPL Challenges Timeline & Procedures
 


PPL Challenge #1:
Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Electric Powered Vehicles


Present a business case that describes the degree to which Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) cars could increase the reliability of energy in the electric grid. Your case should state why PPL should or should not** invest research monies related to the development of Vehicle-to-Grid technologies.

**Please note: Your research may indicate this is not a feasible investment for PPL. Winners will be selected based on the effectiveness of their research and quality of their solution, not on whether they chose to fund this research or not.

BACKGROUND

Electric-drive vehicles may become an important resource for the electric utility industry, with benefits by reducing air pollution, increasing system reliability and saving money. The concept is that the electricity-producing component of an electric vehicle may be used to provide power back to the utility power grid when the vehicle is not in use. This type of technology is called VEHICLE-TO-GRID (V2G).

There currently are three types of V2G vehicles under study: battery, hybrid, and fuel cell. Hybrid V2G vehicles burn gasoline or natural gas to produce electricity. The battery and fuel cell V2G produce no emissions. The hybrid ones produce lesser amounts than the current petroleum-powered vehicles.

It is estimated that 92% of the automobiles in the United States sit idle at any one time. If each of these idle vehicles was hooked up to a power grid and provided power, the total sum of the added power has the potential to support the integrity of the power supply system.


BENEFITS

V2G vehicles may provide an income resource to their owners, may provide system reliability to the power grid, may reduce dependence on foreign oil supplies, and may reduce air pollution. Your vehicle may be able to produce supplemental power to your house. Another potential benefit could be the addition of this green and renewable type of power to a utilities’ generation portfolio.


IMPEDIMENTS/SUGGESTED APPROACHES & CONSIDERATIONS

The power industry, the vehicle makers, and the general public need to be educated on benefits of V2G vehicles, specifically: the economics, the logistics of getting vehicles tied into the grid system and controlling the flow of power to and from the vehicles, and the potential decrease in air pollution from conventional vehicles and power plants.

One conceptual barrier to understanding V2Gs as a power source is an initial belief that their power would be unpredictable or unavailable because they would be on the road. As mentioned above, this is not the case as most cars sit idle.

The cost of the power produced by these vehicles is not currently competitive with the base load power costs. They become more attractive when compared to highest peak load or other ancillary power needs.

The initial cost of the vehicles may be higher than conventional vehicles and they may not have the long distance capability. Furthermore, the logistics have to be ironed out for connecting the V2G to the power grid, controlling the power supply based on need, and metering of the vehicle.

If these costs are compared to the cost for upgrading or building additional power plants with all the current air quality equipment requirements, the economics may begin to grow more favorable.


PPL EXPECTATIONS

PPL expects the team to research V2G vehicles to learn more about their potential to provide greater electric grid reliability at an economical price, provide benefit to the consumer, and to reduce pollution. Then the team should decide if and why PPL should invest research monies to fund further studies and development of this technology. Please note: Your research may indicate this is not a feasible investment for PPL. Winners will be selected based on the effectiveness of their research and quality of their solution, not on whether they chose to fund this research or not.


SUGGESTED RESEARCH AREAS

http://www.udel.edu/V2G/
http://www.acpropulsion.com/Veh_Grid_Power/Veh_grid_power.htm
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0729/p17s02-stct.html
http://www.acpropulsion.com/Press%20releases/V2G_Demo_release.htm
http://www.v2gs.com/Resources/V2GStudy.pdf
http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/icat/projects/ac.htm
http://www.greenmtn.edu/news/V2G.asp
http://www.udel.edu/V2G/V2G-PUF-LetendKemp2002.pdf
http://www.pjm.com/index.jsp

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PPL Challenge #2:
Loss of Eastern Hemlocks to the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Develop a plan that will address the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid infestation that threatens the health of Eastern hemlock trees.  Teams should consider short-term strategies to control the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid population as well as long-term forest management planning.  Research the different management techniques to develop the most cost-efficient and effective plan.

BACKGROUND

The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is a small, but serious insect pest that poses a serious threat to the Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) in the northeastern states.  Adelgids are small, soft-bodied insects that are closely related to aphids and are not native to North America.  They feed on the young hemlock twigs at the base of the needles.  The egg sacs of these insects look like the tips of cotton swabs clinging to the undersides of hemlock branches.   Biologists believe the insect injects toxic saliva by inserting their piercing-sucking mouthparts into the base of the needles and removing plant fluids while feeding, and as a result, needles prematurely fall off the tree and branches die back.  If infested, entire mature trees may die in as little as two to four years. The loss of this species will have an impact on the ecology of the remaining forest.

 

IMPEDIMENTS/SUGGESTED APPROACHES & CONSIDERATIONS

Biologists, forest managers, and many others are currently studying this issue, so the success of several management techniques remains to be seen.

Teams should list any positive or negative environmental and ecological impacts that have been documented as a result of the decline of this tree species.  Describe how your proposed management plan accounts for this loss.

Teams should consider timing of their suggested management techniques.  (For example, if spraying insecticide is a recommendation, teams should know the best time of year to spray – based on the life cycle of the insect, the effectiveness of the spray, impact on the environment, etc.)

PPL EXPECTATIONS

PPL expects the team to research the impact of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) and be able to make management recommendations on how landowners can minimize the negative environmental impacts caused by the loss of the Eastern hemlocks. Teams should be able to back up their management decision with facts.

SUGGESTED RESEARCH AREAS

U.S. Department of Agriculture
www.usda.gov

U.S. Forest Service
www.fs.fed.us

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)
www.dcnr.state.pa.us

Penn State Cooperative Extension
www.extension.psu.edu

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PPL Timeline & Procedures:

Registration Forms Submittal (also complete written proposal submittal instructions, below) — Be sure to view the rules, registration and forms. You must submit completed registration forms and contract forms for the PPL Challenge via US postal mail to:

Let's Get Real
624 Waltonville Road,
Hummelstown, PA 17036
by January 28, 2005


Written Proposal —You must submit your written proposal for the PPL Challenge via e-mail to mewelker@pplweb.com by January 28, 2005.

Oral Presentation — Your team coordinator will be notified around February 25, 2005 whether or not you are selected to give an oral presentation. If you are, the presentation will tentatively be held on Friday, April 1, 2005 at PPL Headquarters in Allentown, PA. You will be sent directions and an agenda after finalists are selected.


PPL Awards for Winning Teams

Each student on the winning team will receive 1 share of PPL Corporation Stock, and a winner’s certificate. Also, the winning team will receive a team trophy suitable for the school’s trophy case. The runner-up team (if one is selected) will receive a team trophy and each of the students will receive runner-up certificates. All students taking part in the PPL Oral Presentation will receive a Let’s Get Real T-shirt.
 

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