Electrifying Football and the Neighborhood

Amsterdam’s Johan Cruijff Arena will be hosting another season of Ajax’s home games in the Dutch football league, as well as a few Dutch national team fixtures. But did you know that aside from hosting football matches, the stadium also generates its own sustainable energy and stores it in reused electric car batteries?

Johan Cruijff Arena

Exterior of the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam and its solar panel covered roof.

Image: Flickr-DennisM2

The massive storage system is situated in the parking garage below the Johan Cruijff Arena. Its location is not a coincidence, because apart from the already present 148 reused Nissan Leaf electric vehicle (EV) lithium-ion batteries, the stadium can temporarily boost its energy storage capacity using the EVs that are parked there during events. The batteries are used to store surplus power while the car is idle. When the owners are ready to use their vehicle, the EV is fully charged and the leftover power is fed back into the grid.

Emergency backup energy system

The storage system can hold up to 3 megawatts of power, enough to charge 500,000 smartphones or deliver energy to 7000 households for an hour.

The xStorage System functions as an important emergency backup energy system for the stadium. It can be used in surge protection, like during concerts. On a normal day, it can be used to stabilize the Dutch electricity grid when there is a spike in demand.

In order to supply its electricity, the stadium set up the Amsterdam Energy Arena B.V. energy company with Het Amsterdams Klimaat en Energiefonds and technology company The Mobility House. Through this scheme, the Johan Cruijff Arena can sell its surplus power to energy companies.

Electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries

Although the EV lithium-ion batteries become less efficient over time, they are still usable as a storage device for many years after. Carmakers like Nissan work to give the cells a second life by repurposing them as home energy storage tools.

According to Nissan, the new system at the Johan Cruijff Arena demonstrates how repurposed batteries can play an important role in creating a more efficient and sustainable energy system.

Long-term sustainable innovation

The Johan Cruijff Arena has a long history with sustainable innovation. Between 2010 and 2015, the Amsterdam ArenA organization developed a strategic plan introducing a number of sustainable initiatives. As the organization's chief innovation officer notes: ‘It is an incubator, knowledge center and a catalyst for innovation, that will shape the city of the future’.

The Johan Cruijff Arena gets its energy from 4200 solar panels, that are placed on the roof of the stadium. Good old Dutch wind power takes care of the rest of the electrical power needs. In addition to this, the ArenA gets its heating through thermal warming from the suburb of Diemen, while it is cooled down using water from the nearby Oudekerker pond. They also managed to decrease their waste production by an impressive 150.000kg.