Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sensor+Test 2012: The quick and easy way to measure power consumption

07.05.2012
The ambitious goals set by the German government to promote energy efficiency have put pressure on companies to change their energy-use policies.

But the sustainable management of energy resources and the associated energy-saving measures can only be implemented if users have a reliable means of quantifying their power consumption. A novel sensor enables them to do just that, and thereby comply with the new government regulations. The new metering device will be presented at the Sensor+Test 2012 trade fair in Nuremberg from 22 to 24 May.

Until recently, large-scale industrial energy users in Germany have benefited from reduced tax rates on the electricity and gas they consume. Now the German government has decided that companies will only be eligible for such tax breaks if they take steps to reduce their energy consumption. From 2013 onward, tax rebates will only be granted to companies equipped with an energy management system that provides details of their power consumption. This won’t be an easy task for the companies concerned, because it means they will have to install individual auxiliary meters to monitor the power consumption of individual loads such as presses and welding machines, or bakers’ ovens, or electric motors.

And in many cases the metering instruments currently available on the market are too large to fit into existing power distribution cabinets. To remedy this situation, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen have developed a novel, space-saving metering unit that can be simply clipped onto a power cable like a laundry peg, without even having to disconnect the load. The new “energy analyzer” was developed in collaboration with Rauschert GmbH – a manufacturer of advanced ceramic products that require energy-intensive production processes. The research project was funded by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology as part of its microsystems technology program.

Using magnetic field sensors to measure power consumption

The device is based on the HallinOne® 3-D magnetic field sensor originally developed by IIS for use in Bosch and Siemens branded washing machines, where it monitors the position and orientation of the rotating drum. “This new device is the first application in which we have used our 3-D magnetic-field sensor technology to measure the magnetic field generated by an electric current as a means of determining the energy consumed by the connected load. As such, it is an entirely novel approach,” says IIS research scientist Michael Hackner. To build the device, he and his team of qualified engineers mounted eight sensors, in the form of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), on a flexible, flat circuit board. What sets these sensors apart from more conventional designs is that they measure the magnetic field not only perpendicular to the surface of the chip but also in tangential directions, which improves measurement accuracy. The recorded data are transmitted to a microcontroller, which forwards them to a central processor via a gateway switch. “Our power sensor is quick to install and can be integrated online,” says Hackner, citing one of the advantages of the new product. He goes on to emphasize another unique design feature, namely the fact that it functions in the same way as a Rogowski coil, a component incorporated in many standard instruments used to measure electrical currents. “But the Rogowski coil only measures alternating current, whereas the IIS sensor can also measure direct current – an important consideration when measuring the power consumption of photovoltaic systems that include solar inverters for converting DC output into AC power.”

Highly accurate measurements

The metering device is cheap to build. And because the IIS researchers have not used any magetizable materials in its design, there are no accuracy errors from this source – a recurring problem with other clamp-on amp meters that cease to function correctly after a short-circuit. Another advantage is that, unlike clamp ammeters, the new device can also measure voltages. In short, users now have an all-in-one instrument capable of measuring all the parameters they need to monitor the quality of the grid supply in addition to the power consumption. Michael Müller, head of energy management systems at Rauschert GmbH, provides an example: “The new device helps us to rapidly identify production problems. We can immediately detect irregularities in the firing process and avoid having to scrap a whole batch of ceramics.” He intends to set up an energy-management consulting service for other plants in the group and equip them with the new measurement system.

Power sensor suitable for use in power utility networks

The sensor devices can even be installed in the power utility’s medium-voltage network (20 kV). As a result of the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), there are now a large number of small and medium-sized electricity producers feeding energy into the grid, without being obliged (or able) to inform the energy provider exactly how much power is flowing on a specific line at any given time, and in what direction. “The grid capacity could be utilized much more efficiently if detailed measurement data were available,” affirm Hacker and Müller in unison. The two experts reckon there is huge market potential for this application: In Bavaria alone, the 20-kV distribution network contains tens of thousands of transformer stations, which could be equipped with the new, low-cost device without having to temporarily disconnect the stations or the transmission lines from the grid. A prototype measuring system for low-voltage networks has already been developed.

IIS researchers will present live demonstrations of the device at the Sensor+Test 2012 trade fair in Nuremberg from May 22 to 24 (Hall 12, Booth 202). The working prototype was built by Loewe Opta GmbH, who will also be manufacturing the final system.

Michael Hackner | Fraunhofer-Institute
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2012/may/the-quick-and-easy-way-to-measure-power-consumption.html

More articles from Trade Fair News:

nachricht AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai
15.06.2018 | DECHEMA Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie e.V.

nachricht Insects supply chitin as a raw material for the textile industry
05.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>