The GreenCom project, funded in part by the European Commission and led on the technical side by Fraunhofer FIT, ended after 42 months, judged a resounding success. The project's main result is a Smart Energy Monitoring and Control system for load management of regional power grids. A test environment comprising 29 homes on the Danish island Fur integrates heat pumps, photovoltaic systems, batteries and smart-home installations.
The growing share of renewable energy sources leads to wider load fluctuations in power grids, necessitating new concepts and ways to avoid overload. What is needed is a flexible smart grid able to adjust to the fluctuations in the production and the consumption of electricity. Here, the GreenCom project focused on regional smart grid solutions that may help to avoid or minimize the need for grid expansion on the national level.
Load distribution in the Fur grid. Colors represent the load levels on power lines and transformer stations: Green stands for optimal load, Red for very high and Purple for critically high load.
© Fraunhofer FIT
The aim was to detect potential instabilities in power grids by monitoring and forecasting how much power will be generated and consumed in the households attached to the grid. On the basis of forecasts and real-time data the GreenCom system can take load-balancing measures on a regional level, allowing for an improved balance of supply and demand.
The GreenCom project implemented a realistic test environment: On the Danish island Fur we worked with the local grid operator to install the “Smart Energy Monitoring and Control System” in 29 homes. The system can capture, aggregate and analyze, almost in real-time, data on devices, sensors, actuator and smart meters in individual homes. Heat pumps, photovoltaic systems and batteries are attached to the system, but also the smart-home installations built by Fraunhofer FIT.
“The smart energy management system developed in the GreenCom project is a control platform that will significantly improve energy management. It is particularly well suited to smart cities and similar local communities”, says Dr. Markus Eisenhauer, head of the User-Centered Computing department of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT.
The data analysis provides consumption data for different types of devices and locations as well as short-term forecasts (for up to 4 hours). This allows planning load-balancing measures. Large-scale power consumers in the homes are switched on at different times to avoid peak loads in the grid.
The forecasts and consumption data collected in the project were also used to analyze existing business models and develop new ones. The latter may feature a novel player in the market, which we call “aggregator”. Aggregators offer heating as a service: Homeowners allow their heat pumps to be controlled remotely and in exchange pay less for heating their homes. The contracts specify an acceptable temperate range. Thus the aggregator has some flexibility in reacting to fluctuating electricity supply and can sell this flexibility to the grid operator. This might be a model for controlling the electricity consumption of residential houses in the future.
The owners would only have to accept that the heat pump is under external control, without making any compromises in terms of heating comfort or usage pattern, as heat pumps do not have to work continuously and can be controlled remotely without any negative effects on the people living in the house. Here, reduced heating costs may be a convincing economic argument. If this model actually works on a broader scale remains to be seen in the coming years.
The GreenCom project, funded in part by the European Commission in the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, was coordinated by the Italian Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (ISMB). Besides Fraunhofer FIT, the project consortium included the Danish partners EnergiMidt A/S, Actua A/S, Tyndall National Institute and In-JeT ApS as well as Sensing & Control Systems (Spain) and University College Cork (Ireland).
For additional information please see: http://www.greencom-project.eu
Alex Deeg | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Cutting edge research for the industries of tomorrow – DFKI and NICT expand cooperation
21.03.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
Molecular motor-powered biocomputers
20.03.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden
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...
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...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
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...
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...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences