Kellton Tech takes IoT to the energy sector

Hyderabad based Kellton Tech is ready with an innovative and first of its kind Internet of Things (IoT) enabled Artificial Intelligence (AI) solution. The company has announced foraying into energy vertical with the launch of this AI platform.
This IoT enabled AI platform is predictive and prescriptive analytics based, which allows customers to make smarter, faster and informed decisions. In a press statement, the Kellton Tech shared that their platform remotely monitors the real time data of energy assets at multiple locations.
The solution architecture enables communication between man and machine at any point of time with its proprietary, smart IoT devices. The platform enables maximization of asset utilization, reduction in down time with an immediate effect. For energy sector, this means streamlining and improvement of operations with an immediate effect.
Emphasising on the need on the platform Kellton Tech chairman , Niranjan Chintam said, “The global market for IoT in energy, utility applications should reach $ 59.9 billion by 2022. We are excited to transform customer experience and drive industry disruption with our IoT enabled AI platform for the energy industry which would boast their operational performance.”     Read more…

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Chirp and EDF Energy team up on power station connectivity project

Chirp and EDF Energy team up on power station connectivity project

Tech start-up Chirp and utility EDF Energy have been awarded a £100,000 Innovate UK grant to explore data-over-sound in radio-frequency restricted environments.

Data-over-sound start-up Chirp is partnering with utility company EDF Energy on a project that aims to bring connectivity to areas of power stations that have typically been ‘dead zones’ in industrial IoT terms. 

The project will take place at EDF’s Heysham 1 nuclear power station in Lancashire, UK and has been awarded £100,000 by public-sector innovation agency, Innovate UK. Together, the two companies will use Chirp’s technology, which takes data and encodes it into unique audio streams to provide connectivity in radio-frequency restricted environments.

“WiFi and mobile communications are common in most workplaces, but not on our stations,” explained Dave Stanley, a project manager in EDF Energy’s Innovation Delivery Team. “So having a way of getting regular and reliable data from remote instruments in radio-restricted areas will be useful for our engineers.”

Read more: Start-up of the month: Chirp – turning data into sound to reach network ‘notspots’

Chirping away

Any device with a speaker can transmit a ‘chirp’ and most devices with a microphone can decode it. In the Chirp/EDF project, signals from remote and inaccessible checkpoints on the power station will be transmitted to computer networks as ‘chirps’, enabling workers to monitor instruments from offices and relieving them of the burden of frequent in-person inspections.

This is the second phase of a two-part engagement between Chirp and EDF Energy. The first phase saw the two explore the possibilities of using data-over-sound in nuclear power plants, starting in November 2016 and continuing over the first half of 2017. From this work, a successful proof of concept was delivered to take readings from a gauge.

“The first phase of our engagement with EDF Energy was a resounding success. We were set a serious challenge, to use data-over-sound in a very difficult environment and it passed with flying colours,” said Dr Dan Jones, chief science officer at Chirp.

Phase two, meanwhile, began at the Heysham 1 power plant in October 2017.


Coming soon: Our Internet of Energy event will be taking place in Berlin, Germany on 6 & 7 March 2018. Attendees will hear how companies in this sector are harnessing the power of IoT to transform distributed energy resources. 

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Energy Industry Technology Trends for 2018

Unlike any other time, technology is having a tremendous impact on the energy industry. Some of the major trends are in areas we’re familiar with, yet the level of activity has increased dramatically.

We see energy providers increasingly turning to information and communications technology to modernize the grid and improve situational awareness, with the goal of further maximizing the use of operational assets and optimizing the energy value chain. With specific expertise in these areas, we at Intel, along with our energy industry partners, are focused on the following technology trends for 2018:

 

Solar energy collectors.

 

1. Costs for Solar and Wind Power Continue to fall

In an increasingly larger number of countries, it has now become more economical to install solar and wind capacity than coal capacity. It is estimated that more than 30 countries have already reached grid parity without subsidies, and around two thirds of the world should reach grid parity in the next couple of years, according to the World Economic Forum.

 

2. Governments Invest in Green Energy

Countries are making green investment pledges to raise more money for climate action, as seen by commitments made at the Paris Climate Accord and the “One Planet” summit in Paris. Some of these efforts will drive the gasification of the coal industry in the short term and the growth of utility-scale solar and wind generation (off-shore and on-shore) in the long term to reduce the emission of pollutants.

 

3. Utility Companies Add Batteries to the Grid

Lithium-ion batteries are now a viable option to store energy on the grid, enabling utility companies to take full advantage of renewable energy sources despite their variable, intermittent output. One example is San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), which deployed a 30 MW lithium-ion battery system, capable of storing 120 MWh of energy and serving 20,000 customers for four hours.

 

4. Electric Vehicle Momentum Accelerates

A lack of ubiquitous and fast charging stations has caused potential electric vehicle (EV) owners to defer their purchase as they may not consider an EV as a replacement of their gasoline powered car. Some automakers and utilities see this as a big opportunity and plan to significantly increase the number of vehicle charging stations. Four automakers started a joint venture, called create Ionity, with plans to install a network of 400 high-power EV chargers across Europe by 2020; and French utility Engie bought Dutch EV-Box, one of Europe’s biggest makers of charging stations.

With EV charging destined to be a huge business opportunity, operators are trying figure out how to best compete in what will be a fiercely competitive market. This requires data collected on EVs (e.g., charge times, tire pressure, and vehicle performance), and consumer behavior and preferences. Early on, some operators may even give consumers free charges in order to get them to opt-into data collection programs. Data privacy will be a critical regulation consideration.

As EVs become more popular, the future of gas-powered vehicles is dimming, as countries such as China and France ready plans to end sales by around 2040. Even sooner, the Paris authorities plan to banish all petrol- and diesel-fueled cars from its city by 2030. This movement will fuel higher technology investment in EVs and charging stations.

 

5. Energy Production Gets Consumerized

A number of businesses and consumers already have solar panels on rooftops, and microgrids are emerging to give them more control over how they produce, consume, and sell energy. This is a way for companies and homeowners to become their own utility. One example is the Indian government, which is planning to build at least 10,000 renewable-based micro- and mini-grid projects across the country, with the goal of making electricity more reliable for consumers.

 

6. Distributed Generation Will Improve Grid Reliability

Utilities will integrate into their forecast the output of distributed energy resources (DERs), including distributed generation, distributed storage, electric vehicles, demand response, and microgrids. To maintain the reliability of the grid, it is critically important to monitor all these DERs in order to accurately forecast and respond to changes in energy production and demand. With a more active grid management, mitigation measures against the variability of renewable generation, unplanned outages, unbalanced networks, and excessive peak demand will be addressed using intelligent real-time analytics rather than brute force equipment uprating.

 

7. Utility Companies Deploy their own Communication Networks

Looking to reduce telco costs and have a dedicated control network, some utility companies will consider deploying their own 5G networks. These network would also allow utility companies to collect their own data wirelessly and generate revenue by selling bandwidth to content providers offering services to the home. Most suited for dense population areas, power-line communication (PLC) that sends data over existing power cables has been used for similar purposes. The combination of PLC and 5G will become an attractive option for utility private communication networks, supporting all their operational and business needs.

In my next blog, I will discuss how new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), real-time networking, virtualization, and deep learning adapted to the grid environment can be designed and deployed to better address these trends.

To learn about Intel energy solutions visit intel.com/energy. To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

 


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GE’s Maher Chebbo on the journey to a digitally transformed energy sector

General Electric digital transformation

In an exclusive interview with Internet of Business, Maher Chebbo of General Electric discusses the company’s take on how digital transformation is shaking up the energy industry.

Maher Chebbo

Maher Chebbo

As one of 20 executives selected by the European Commission in 2005 to establish the European Technology Platform for Smart Grids, Maher Chebbo is well-placed to shine a light on how the energy sector is adapting to the opportunities and challenges of the digital world. This, after all, is the initiative that claims to have coined the term ‘smart grids’.

Chebbo spent 21 years honing his IT and software expertise at global digital providers SAP, before taking on the role of chief commercial officer for power digital solutions at General Electric (GE), last April. As of this year, his position covers the entire energy value chain, meaning that he oversees the company’s digital solutions as innovation officer, as well as its work in power generation.

“One of the things I’m doing in my role is shaping the vision for GE Power Digital Solutions for 2030 and beyond. We’re laying out where we want to take our customers and where we want to take our society using GE digital solutions. We’re also working on bringing this innovation focus to the employees.”

The company is introducing a process whereby if an employee has an innovative idea, they can submit it, and it will undergo a process of due diligence to determine whether it’s worth pursuing. The hope is that this will allow GE to bring an innovation to market every three to six months.

Read more: Analysis: Machine learning has much to teach utilities companies

What digital transformation means for energy

I asked Chebbo whether this meant that successful digital transformation is as much about undergoing a cultural shift as it is making technical changes.

“Absolutely. Alongside the move from an industrial to a digital industrial company, there’s another shift as well, where everybody goes from believing that all our solutions are created in factories then pushed to market, to it being the responsibility of all of GE’s 300,000 employees to think innovatively – drawing on their experience from the years they have spent at the company, or elsewhere.”

If an employee thinks something is worth prototyping, whether it’s a digital or engineering innovation, GE are eager to tap into it. Chebbo gives the example of using drones to make inspections more efficient. With a €1.4 billion a year market, there’s huge opportunity for organically grown innovations to make a big difference to customers and offer them something new year-on-year.

Since the European Technology Platform for Smart Grids was formed in 2005, digital transformation has taken off in the energy sector.

“It was about changing the way we collect data on everything from power generation, to buildings, to lighting, and particularly making changes that meant customer energy usage data would be collected not once or twice a year but every 15 minutes.”

By opening these data streams to providers, you can optimise the overall value chain, providing customers with the nearest, cleanest and cheapest energy. From there, around €3 billion has been invested in smart grid transformation in Europe, with around 600 projects currently taking place in this area.

Read more: Utilities tell their networks: “Smart grid, heal thyself”

Big-picture thinking

Chebbo was in Brussels the day before our conversation, working with the European Commission to get a better understanding of the overall energy landscape, including topics such as heating, cooling and electric vehicles. Europe’s reliance on imported energy, which current stands at 53 percent, is a pressing issue. The powers that be are eager to strive towards future energy independence.

When asked about his plans for March, at our Internet of Energy event in Berlin, Chebbo emphasised the potential of IoT in the energy industry.

“I’m going to speak about the great opportunity we have as one of the sectors where the internet of things can bring a lot of value. This is a small community where we know each other very well. I have been working with a lot of the attendees for years and this is a chance to learn about their new projects and where they are today.”

Chebbo will also be chairing a panel discussion at the event on how challengers are disrupting the industry, so I wanted to get his take on the impact start-ups are having.

“I believe that start-ups are absolutely part of the game. They have minimal bureaucracy, so that most of their time is spent on their products and innovation. Sometimes, when you get bigger and bigger, you have lots of things to juggle internally. The associations are opening themselves up more and more to start-ups.”

Chebbo has backed this up by creating favourable conditions at ESMIG (the European smart energy organisation of which he is President) for challengers to join. GE has also introduced competitions where they identify customer needs and ask SMEs to present their best-in-class solutions, based on the Predix platform.

Read more: Tesla Powerpack begins work on powering South Australia

Slow off the mark?

While larger, older industries, such as banking and construction, can be slow to adopted digital transformation, Chebbo feels the energy industry has done quite well in Europe.

“It really depends on the region. When I was in Brussels talking with the European Commission, we were saying that in Europe the energy sector is doing well. The networks are good, we don’t see a lot of blackouts. Therefore, most of our time is spent anticipating the future and how to make sure that we get more and more energy efficiency.”

Where the industry has been slow, is in its emphasis on the business case – why investors should take interest, whether it’s the European Investment Bank or the private sector.

“Where you have a lot of engineers they focus the engineering aspects, so perhaps the business side lacks attention. Between 2005 and 2015 we didn’t involve a lot of financial people to develop this side but now things are really moving. A lot of innovation projects that used to be research-led are now becoming innovation-led, which means at the end you get things done and go to market.”

The future of IoT in energy

Therefore, the challenge for the sector’s major players is to combine their influence and engineering might with the flexibility and creative thinking of emerging challengers, all while ensuring the business cases for their projects are clearly articulated.

Chebbo is confident the industry will deliver, which is unsurprising given what energy providers stand to gain from the efficiency gains of digitisation. GE was able to reduce EDP’s asset and maintenance costs by €7 million per year, funds that are now being reinjected into building their renewable capacity.

“Yesterday I had a meeting where we talked about the changing focus on electrical vehicles. They no longer care purely about research, they care about innovation and how to get electrical to market. In the next 10 years, you will see things moving really quickly, as quickly as the telecoms industry has been moving – I’m confident about that.”


Coming soon: Our Internet of Energy event will be taking place in Berlin, Germany on 6 & 7 March 2018. Attendees will hear how companies in this sector are harnessing the power of IoT to transform distributed energy resources. 

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Innogy installs Philips smart lighting system to boost employee energy levels

Innogy installs Philips smart lighting system to boost employee energy levels

Innogy, the European energy provider, has installed a smart lighting system from Philips Lighting that aims to boost energy levels and workplace comfort, as well as visibility.

Executives at Philips Lighting say that the implementation of LED lighting at energy provider Innogy is “tuned to support the circadian rhythms of Innogy’s office staff”.

Innogy, which serves 23 million customers in Europe, completed a renovation project of its Czech Republic headquarters in Limuzska, Prague in November 2017. The site consists of three buildings housing 550 employees. As part of the revamp, the company wanted an open plan office and a new system of lighting.

The company decided to install a networked lighting system that consisted of approximately 2,000 Philips LED luminaires, including 860 Philips PowerBalance tunable white ceiling fixtures and 96 Philips LuxSpace tuneable white downlights, programmed to provide different light settings at various times of the day.

“At the beginning of the day the office lights mimic natural daylight, providing a useful energy boost. The light levels decrease until after lunch when we give another boost to help staff over the post-lunch energy dip,” said Tomas Michna, senior manager for facility and services at innogy Czech Republic.

Read more: Philips Lighting looks at city life in 2035

Successful office makeover

Michna suggested that the company’s aim to create an “outstanding environment” for employees had been successful.

“Nearly 80 percent of employees surveyed described the new lighting as better or much better than the previous fluorescent tube lighting, while 60 percent agreed that it contributed to a place in which they wanted to work,” he said.

Employees at innogy can also override the light settings at any time, tailoring the light to their needs, using a Philips Antumbra Dynalite control. Meanwhile, the installation included approximately 150 sensors that detect human presence and automatically switch off in empty rooms, saving the company electricity. The combination of LED lighting and controls has helped innogy to reduce electricity usage by around 50 percent compared to the previous fluorescent lighting that was in place.

The concept of smart lighting has been around for several years. Back in 2015, the UK county of Gloucestershire said it would deploy 55,000 LED streetlights to cover 1,000 square miles of the area. They would be wirelessly connected and managed via Telensa’s PLANet Central Management System.

According to Harshvardhan Chitale, vice chairman and managing director of Philips Lighting India, IoT-driven smart lights will “be the default” in the next five to 10 years.

Read more: Analysis: Connected streetlights illuminate path to smart cities

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