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Research

A smarter approach for the energy sector

Background

Like many industries, the fourth industrial revolution – known as Industry 4.0 – has the potential to digitally transform the energy sector, using novel techniques and smart tools to significantly improve energy management. Just one of the industry challenges advanced digital capabilities could address is the effective integration of renewable energy plants within electricity and heat networks. Since 2008, a team of researchers at Teesside University have explored this potential, developing smart tools to assist integration and improve the management of energy supply and demand in commercial settings.

The Research

Working within an Industry 4.0 framework, the research team at Teesside University developed a suite of smart tools and approaches which integrate renewable energy assets – such as offshore wind platforms – into an Internet of Things (IoT) style energy management system. This system provides a much more accurate prediction of energy demand across buildings than previous approaches, resulting in clear benefits: greater optimisation of the energy supply from renewable plants and a significant reduction in wasted energy spend. The tools developed by the research team were also adapted and integrated with Siemens commercial products to create an IoT-based energy management system for demand-side energy assets within buildings – for example commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning. When used alongside the supply-side management tools, this creates a complete solution for renewables integration and energy management. The system is intelligent and can automatically adapt to fluctuations in energy demand or production.

REF 2021 TU Research is creating smarter, greener energy solutions

Researchers at Teesside University have developed smart tools that automatically adapt to changing energy demand and production.

The Impact

This work has led to commercial product development, optimisation and significant energy savings, as well as changes to the working practices of businesses in the smart energy sector.

The greatest demonstration of the work’s impact has been in its application in commercial settings in the UK and abroad, with Porvoon Energia (Finland), Quorum Development (UK) and Duneworks (Netherlands) just some of the companies to take the approaches developed forward.

Collaborative work with Quorum Development off the back of the research led to the development of a prototype ICT platform to help integrate remote wind turbines into one of its existing software programmes. This has allowed Quorum to enter the Wind Energy market through integration with power plants on the National Grid – enabling over 4.2 million homes in the UK to be powered by offshore Wind.

“The project carried out with Teesside University allowed Quorum to demonstrate the feasibility of controlling a wind farm automatically, using instructions from National Grid without the need for manual intervention. The knowledge and experience gained during this prototype project were used to enhance our product and were vital to the development of an interface able to control offshore wind farms, and other renewable resources, that can produce sufficient power for millions of homes every day.”

Quorum Development Ltd

Centre for Sustainable Engineering

The Centre for Sustainable Engineering focuses on the design, development, and enhancement of engineering systems, processes, and products that are efficient and sustainable without compromising the natural environment.

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