Self-Managing Energy System

 

  

With global warming and impending scarcity of fossil fuel; cleaner sources and better utilization of energy has been considered as a major goal for future technology advancements and research. To this end, many governments worldwide are working on a new energy infrastructure commonly known as “The Smart Grid". A smart grid is envisioned to better manage the processes of energy generation, transmission and distribution. A smart grid allows two-way communications between all the stakeholders including the producers, distributors and consumers in the energy value-chain, thus providing ample new opportunities to produce, distribute and consume energy in more intelligent ways.

 

Buildings such as houses, offices and other structures are the biggest consumers of energy.According to a study out of all consumers of energy in most developed countries 37% of energy is consumed by buildings. This is ahead of energy consumption in industrial sector which consumes 28% and transportation sector which consumes 32%. Due to smaller industrial and transport sectors, the percentage of energy usage of buildings in developing countries is even more. Therefore, the conservation of energy, and using alternate cleaner sources of energy in buildings is cited as a major step towards solving the energy shortage problems faced by the developing countries such as Pakistan. In fact, Energy conservation has been cited as the 'most important fuel' in energy generation.

  

Energy conservation in buildings is only possible if the energy usage is known in real time.With this information one could plan the energy usage thereby reducing energy consumption and saving bills. Moreover, if the heavy duty devices could be controlled in an automated way then more energy could be conserved by adjusting the usage of these devices automatically. Another possibility is to use low-powered alternate energy sources such as solar cells and wind turbines in buildings to reduce the dependence on energy purchased from power companies.

 

With this proposal we are aspiring to develop a system that is capable of conserving energy usage in buildings. However, this conservation does not mean load shedding as well as any other optimization method that in any way interferes with the normal day to day life of the building occupants. Therefore, in this proposal we hypothesize that in order to conserve energy the energy supply and usage in buildings must be treated as a self-managing system. The self-managing energy system (SES) in buildings will be able to get goals, priorities and constraints from the consumers. Using this information and information on the energy supply and demand at grid-level the SES will optimize energy usage. If alternate sources of energy such as solar cells, wind energy or PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) are available then SES will be able to incorporate it seamlessly into the system. To control heavy electric devices such as air conditioners the SES will use a Home Area Network (HAN) to communicate with the devices and set their usage appropriately.

 

The key benefits that will be achieved using SES are following:

 

·      Using a very simple user interface to allow the consumers to state goals, priorities, and constraints on energy usage in a typical building to automatically plan the energy usage through controlling devices.

 

·       Make the consumers, aware of their energy usage patterns and show them the energy and cost savings by modifying energy usage patterns.

 

·     Develop a localized low cost Home Area Network implementation for controlling heavy duty electric appliances for energy conservation.

 

·      Be able to seamlessly integrate alternate sources of energy such as solar energy in the overall energy systems of buildings.