Expert article
Edit 22 June 2020
by Javier Leiva

Ready… Set… Go!

How is a typical event with AIRQON in Breda?
Source: facebook.com/ploegendienst
How is a typical event with AIRQON in Breda?

January 2020. Right next to the Rat Verlegh Stadium, home of the NAC Breda, which takes its name from a historic local soccer player, the Ploegendienst Winterfestival 2020 takes place. Breda has been hosting this festival since a couple of years and this is one of the most crowded venues where AIRQON has participated so far.

Despite the fact that the Netherlands is a modern, innovative nation, most of the population knows very little about electric mobility. It does not matter that it is a country where world leaders in electric cars like Tesla have had, and continue to have, great success. 100,000 out of its 8 million cars are electric, which is around a 1.25%. But in the neighboring Belgium, the data doesn't differ much either, with a penetration of around a 1.5%.

What is the problem? As the general trend almost anywhere, one of the main recurring obstacles is the lack of a sufficiently extensive network of public charging points. Therefore, the need of a basic infrastructure publicly supported is perceived, so that it will provide reliance to end users… or again we will stay immersed in the vicious circle. Okay, but, is this the only option to boost electric car driving? Of course not!

Although now, in the Netherlands, private companies have been the first movers to switch to electric mobility, encouraged by strong tax incentives for example, the group of the so-called festival goers is potentially promising and attractive. They are mainly +25 years old, university students, graduates… who will be able to afford an electric car in a few years. Consequently, it is a very interesting potential market segment.

Anyway, AIRQON demonstrates the power and versatility of the electric vehicle by means of individual owners, company fleets, car sharing, pooling or leasing or any other formula…, paving the path for new electric car users that will emerge in the upcoming years. Are we talking about a long‑term engagement? Not at all! We hope to see this evolving in the very short term.

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ZAP Concepts is one of the partners of AIRQON. It is a company that provides energy solutions for events around the world, around a 70% of them taking place in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, some of the founders of ZAP, which means Zero Air Pollution, come from the field  of diesel generators. This company deals with music festivals, sport events, or any other type of temporary event.

They gather energy solutions of every nature, that is, not only on-grid energy systems, which use a direct connection to the nearby electricity distribution network, but also off-grid solutions, which are therefore isolated and not connected. In this way, they use both diesel and renewable energy generators, such as solar photovoltaic, in addition to AIRQON solution or energy storage systems in batteries, for example. Therefore, his experience provides a useful, practical vision of AIRQON's possibilities to become a solution likely to be included within the portfolio for sustainable, efficient and green events.

Concert tents (left picture) and stages (right picture) being assembled for Ploegendienst Winterfestival 2020 (Source: facebook.com/ploegendienst)Concert tents (left picture) and stages (right picture) being assembled for Ploegendienst Winterfestival 2020 (Source: facebook.com/ploegendienst)

It must be noted that diesel generators still play a leading role in large events. So far, there are hybrid diesel generators integrating renewable generation and storage systems. In fact, the trucks employed by event organizers may serve as an energy source, as a kind of temporary generator, since they remain parked for days.

To prepare an event, it is essential to study the energy demanded and match it with the different energy generation options. Anyone may tend to oversize, to request more power than needed, but these experts bring their expertise to optimize energy use in events. In fact, it cannot be forgotten that money is included in the equation, so cost reduction is a must. Not simply in terms of less fuel to be consumed, but also for a better sizing of generators to be used, a lower number of hours in operation, or any other saving able to contribute to the overall economic feasibility. Event organizers, at the end, perceive power as a service, no matter where it comes from.

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To organize an event, first of all, we start doing a power inventory. Then, we design our plan, having that AIRQON is a power solution available for us like any other. Later we monitor the event and report the results and performance to the client. This let us see how everything has gone, and even help us to draw a future plan for the next event

Paul Schurink, ZAP Concepts

It is striking that the use of diesel generators has a severe environmental impact, especially in the days before the event. Having in mind that they are commonly oversized, with very high nominal power ratings, those days they often operate under particularly inefficient regimes because of the low demand being fed during short periods, in contrast to the high, stable demand during the event itself.

Kairos Events, an event organizer, is one of the partners of AIRQON. They provide a valuable, expert vision in order to deal with the huge difference of energy needs during the event and to give an optimal response. Thinking out of the box, the traditional approach has to be switched if the goal is to be more efficient. This means that the demand in the event can be divided into two parts: one fixed, and other variable. The fixed part, the base demand, may be supported by diesel generators, for example, contributing this to better sizing and operation conditions. And the variable part, much higher in power consumption and especially changing during the days of the event, can be optimally supported by solutions like AIRQON.

The AIRQON solution in an event such as Ploegendienst Winterfestival 2020 works in off-grid mode, like an energy island. It can be especially useful when it is not possible to physically connect to the electricity distribution network. In fact, events normally have a series of spotted islands, each one of them independently powered by diesel generators. Nonetheless, this event was partly powered thanks to a connection with the electrical substation of the NAC Breda Stadium. Moreover, three energy solutions were concurrent in Ploegendienst Winterfestival 2020. Apart from the connection to the distribution network and two energy islands powered by AIRQON solution, a Nissan on-grid bidirectional charger powered the event. All this worked together, simultaneously, as an example of versatility and potential. Isn't it surprising?

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We are sure that the electric car is not only for driving, it can also be used for a lot of things. This is the added value for us being part of this project, because we see emerging a lot of potential applications

Tijn Kapteijns, Kairos Events

For this event, an AIRQON system is used. It consists of 2 vans Nissan eNV200. The AIRQON bidirectional charger is embarked on one of them, as well as a principal battery that allows to decouple energy demand and power supply from the electric vehicles. In other words, the system can operate without a car being permanently connected discharging its batteries. AIRQON is able to provide up to 30kW, a considerable maximum power.

 

Facebook campaigns spreading AIRQON among festival goers (Source: facebook.com/ploegendienst)

Around 20 or 30 electric vehicles can be gathered in a festival like this. Their energy is used gradually, so that the cars are successively connected, partly discharged, and disconnected. This lets AIRQON cope with the requirements of minimum battery levels in the cars to be used; at the same time the energy demand needs are permanently met. Faraday Keys is one of the AIRQON partners most committed to enhance user engagement, which is one of the key factors to reach the goals of the project. Festival goers in Ploegendienst Winterfestival had the chance to win a free ride by electric taxi to the event with their friends, in addition to a free VIP pass to the festival backstage. Or, in case they had an electric car, like a Nissan Leaf, they could win to be picked up and brought back home by an AIRQON driver, so the car was parked in the backstage and used to power the event while the winners enjoyed the festival.

Ploegendienst Winterfestival 2020 on stage (Source: facebook.com/ploegendienst)Ploegendienst Winterfestival 2020 on stage (Source: facebook.com/ploegendienst)

AIRQON therefore works like another power source. That means that events neither depend on it, nor are limited to it, but of course AIRQON can absolutely help them to be more efficient and to drastically reduce polluting emissions and their impact in the environment.

 

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A very important factor is the engagement of festival goers. With AIRQON, events can build loyalty among their followers, encouraging them to be in contact and share information. So, at the end, this brings added value for event organizers. There is also a lot of possibilities to work on policy awareness by the way.

Wopke Geurts, Faraday Keys

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