Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Semantic web promises a smarter electricity grid

10.02.2009
Dispersed wind farms and solar panels on people’s homes are posing new challenges for managing power grids that were designed when all electricity was generated in centralised plants. A new semantic web technology promises a solution.

Managing increasingly dispersed energy resources – from far-flung wind farms on remote mountaintops to racks of solar panels on suburban homes – is crucial if the electricity they produce is to be used as efficiently as possible.

Today, wind farms, solar and other renewable resources generate around 7 percent of the European Union’s electricity, a figure that is set to rise to 20 percent by 2020. But unlike conventional fossil-fuel burning or nuclear power plants, few of these dispersed energy generators feed information into grid management systems.

So grid operators can’t be sure what generators are connected, whether they are in operation and, if so, how much power they are producing. This could become a bigger problem, once these power sources start to account for a larger portion of Europe’s energy supply.

“Grid management systems were designed around a large number of clients and a few suppliers, but now there are increasing numbers of suppliers. This requires a new level of communication and management system,” explains Bernhard Schowe-von der Brelie, a researcher at the FGH research institute in Mannheim, Germany.

Schowe-von der Brelie led a team of researchers who have made considerable progress towards developing a solution, not only for managing distributed resources in an electricity grid, but also for communicating with autonomous systems, devices and sensors across any network.

Self-describing network

Working in the EU-funded S-TEN project, the team developed a generic framework for novel ICT architectures and applied semantic web technologies to make networks ‘self-describing’ so that each component – be it a volt meter on a wind turbine or a thermometer on a weather station – autonomously publishes information about what it is, where it is, and what it does.

Because semantic data can be understood by machines as well as humans, the approach should lead to more efficient automated grid management and better decision-support for human operators. Smart power grids, efficiently supplying a town or city from locally generated electricity and then feeding it into a wider supply network, could therefore be more easily and cost-effectively set up.

“Instead of storing information in a centralised database, the S-TEN approach is for each node, each sensor or device connected to the network, to have its own intelligence,” Schowe-von der Brelie says.

“The network, which can be accessed through a web interface, shows its current status – i.e. which objects are part of it and what they are currently doing. As well as providing monitoring and control of the network, this architecture can enable preventive maintenance strategies,” he notes.

The semantic web interface is built around the OWL (Ontology Web Language) W3C standard, which allows applications to interpret the meaning of information.

World first OWL-STEP converter

In addition, the team developed the world’s first converter between OWL and STEP (STandard for the Exchange of Product data), a common format for expressing the design and functional aspects of a device.

“Our work on standards is a fundamental part of the project, and will help ensure a future for the technology in different fields,” the project coordinator says.

Managing distributed energy resources – the focus of two of four demonstrator applications developed by the project – is just one potential use for the technology, Schowe-von der Brelie notes.

Industrial equipment, embedded with sensors and chips storing and exchanging data, could alert technicians when they are due for maintenance checks or when a part needs to be replaced, thereby ensuring that factory downtime is kept to a minimum and safety risks are greatly reduced.

As highlighted in one of the S-TEN demonstrators, the machine itself could even provide the technician with updated maintenance guidelines extracted from information stored on the network.

Another demonstrator showed how the networked sensors and devices could be used to improve building standards – another essential means of improving energy use. By monitoring the power and heat consumption of homes, factories and offices, and correlating that data with information from nearby weather stations it would be possible to gain a clear understanding of the energy efficiency of different buildings.

Commercial applications likely

It is likely that at least some of the project demonstrators will lead to commercial applications over the coming years, Schowe-von der Brelie says. Meanwhile, several of the project partners are looking to further their research through a new initiative under the European Commission’s recent call for novel ICT solutions for smart electricity distribution networks.

The S-TEN project received financing from the ICT strand of the European Union’s Sixth Framework Programme.

Christian Nielsen | alfa
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/90399

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Cutting edge research for the industries of tomorrow – DFKI and NICT expand cooperation
21.03.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Molecular motor-powered biocomputers
20.03.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>