Remote Energy Management

Autonomous view on Energy

Back when electricity still came “out of the plug socket”, energy management was limited to manually switching devices on and off, and occasionally answering the door to the meter reader. Now, however, energy use is scrupulously monitored and meticulously controlled. Energy management is also playing an ever more important role away from centralised power grids.

With increasing networking, comprehensive possibilities open up for the management and control of electrical energy. The integration into the Internet of Things (IoT) allows an exact and continuous recording of the energy consumption of each object. In order to manage the resulting flood of data in a meaningful way, helpers such as our IoT-capable controller, the CTR-700, which in this case acts as an edge controller, are needed.

The sysWORXX CTR-700 is a Linux-based industrial controller which is predestined for use in IoT due to its extensive pre-installed software components. Thanks to its versatile communication interfaces, the device is particularly suitable for processes in energy management. Especially via Modbus, numerous smart meters can be integrated with little effort. Field bus interfaces such as CAN/CANopen support the connection of additional peripheral devices and sensors such as actuators can be addressed directly via digital and analogue interfaces.

On the software side, the smart edge controller is just as flexible. Suitable programming languages include C/C++, C#/.Net, Node-RED, Java or Python, and users of classic PLC programming in IEC 61131-3 can choose from various protocol stacks in the form of function block libraries and network variables. The sysWORXX CTR-700 can implement the wireless connection, e.g. via LTE, with radio modems from various manufacturers.

The CTR-700 stands out visibly due to its combination of a freely programmable edge controller and IoT gateway as well as the possibility of internal data pre-processing. This means that collected data can be pre-evaluated, weighted and processed already in the device. The CTR-700 is used as the basis for their energy management applications by the German Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS) and numerous other customers.

Energie-Management from the cloud

For industrial applications and larger companies, our cooperation partner, the Israeli company Bacsoft, has designed an IoT platform. The aim: energy management and energy optimisation. Bacsoft focuses on data transfer to the cloud as well as evaluation and within the cloud. The solution is currently being used in water management, agriculture, but also in the energy management of buildings and industry.

In order to be able to use pre-processed data, Bacsoft relies on the sysWORXX CTR-700, because here the data is transferred to the cloud of the same name for final analyses and management reports.

Bacsoft Sales Director Guy Gavish explains: "We only transfer the delta, i.e. the differences in the calculated consumption values. This ensures very efficient data transfer. We also discard 'data noise', i.e. data that is useless for our purposes, and only pass on those data sets that are currently needed".

 

 

To do this, the company uses its own real-time agent as the central software component on the CTR-700, which monitors the power metering and, for example, sends a message to the cloud in the event of deviations greater than 10% of the average, where, depending on the configuration, a warning is triggered and sent to connected smartphones or to the operator's control room. With access via the cloud, managers can also monitor their energy systems in real time.

They give us the freedom to implement our solutions on their devices. This lets us provide what we consider to be the perfect combination of software and hardware.

Guy Gavish, Director of Sales OEM Bacsoft

 

 

Local energy management

Electrical engineer Peter Heusinger from Fraunhofer IIS describes the cooperation between his research institute and SYS TEC electronic in a similar way: "With this cooperation, we generate real added value.

Peter Heusinger develops in the "Networked Systems and Applications" department and is involved in the "OGEMA" energy management system, which will run on the sysWORXX controller in future. OGEMA has a wide range of possible uses, including industrial applications as well as energy control in the smart home.

With OGEMA, Heusinger and his colleagues want to address a challenge that is omnipresent not only in the smart home: the variety of interfaces and protocols. "This has grown historically and is still very diverse," explains the engineer. It was not trivial to combine numerous different interfaces in a common platform: "If you want to couple these systems in some way to do something useful with energy, you have to rely on all these interfaces.

The result is a platform with an app-based approach, which aims to provide a platform, including a future app store, for developers who come up with particularly sophisticated algorithms for energy management.

An app for everything

Apps can be installed in OGEMA, similar to those known from smartphones. The apps each cover a specific area. These can be individual devices but also control tasks. For example, an app takes care of querying inverters - how much energy does my solar system currently produce?

Another queries the current weather report and the forecast for the coming days from the Internet and forwards the data to the next app, which adjusts the energy management for the next period based on the weather data. Other apps take care of querying user defaults, communicating with the electric car (if one exists) or carrying out actions in the smart home.

However, OGEMA is not a feature-oriented platform, because particular attention is paid to IT security, explains Peter Heusinger: "We have thought security directly as part of the architecture. Keyword: Security by Design. This is how we want to minimise external dangers". To secure OGEMA, the Fraunhofer developers commissioned external penetration tests, among other things.

 

 

Standard data model for efficient management

The platform works with an integrated persistent database. This ensures that the system can be used again immediately without loss of data even after a power failure. Any (sensor) data, such as temperature, energy production or charge state of the memory, is read in via interfaces.

In OGEMA they are stored in standardised data types. In this way, the apps should be able to work directly with the data without having to convert them first. Included are data models with a focus on energy management, for example for block-type thermal power stations or inverters. In addition, they can be extended to be able to display individual data sets from technical devices of individual manufacturers in addition to the more common data.

Fraunhofer IIS offers a basic system from OGEMA for integration as open source. The system is licensed under the GPLv3. Developers can therefore place their apps and adaptations under the same licence and use the system free of charge. Alternatively, OGEMA can be licensed commercially with extended functions for own non-open source adaptations. Since Fraunhofer OGEMA cannot distribute OGEMA as a finished complete system, the use of the sysWORXX CTR-700 is all the more important, on the basis of which good prototypes of hardware and software can be built.

 

With its wealth of interfaces and non-reliance on a specific programming language, the smart gateway is absolutely fantastic.

Peter Heusinger, Gruppenleiter Fraunhofer IIS

Peter Heusinger - Gruppenleiter Fraunhofer IIS

Far away from grid

Another area of application for the sysWORXX CTR-700 is the management of off-grid technical equipment such as mobile phone masts that are set up far from the electrical supply.

Such "installations in the field" are supplied with energy from renewable sources such as the sun or wind, via fuel cells or conventionally via generators with combustion engines. Plants that use renewable energy often have additional energy storage facilities that bridge periods of low wind or sunshine. These batteries, like combustion engines, are subject to wear and tear. Therefore the vital data of such remote energy sites must be permanently monitored. Sensors connected to the CTR-700 perform this task. The data is transmitted pre-processed, because the CTR-700 collects and processes the data. Only when it is determined that limit or expected values lie outside a defined range are relevant data sent to the operator.

This has two advantages. On the one hand, transmission volume is saved and on the other hand the control room is relieved. However, the operator can still access the plant remotely at any time and retrieve the raw data.

In plants with power supply via fuel cells or diesel generators, monitoring of fuel consumption and tank levels is important. Via the CTR-700, these level data as well as the consumption at run time are sent to the Network Operations Centre (NOC). On the basis of this data, the NOC can coordinate the routes of the tank trucks within the framework of supply chain management, thus ensuring the availability of the system at all times.

Available order numbers:

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P/NDescription
16061000sysWORXX CTR-700 inkl. microUSB-Kabel
KIT-177sysWORXX CTR-700 BSP-Kit
 

1x  16061000 sysWORXX CTR-700
1x  192016 USB stick with virtual machine incl. compiler / demos
1x  162208 USB 2.0 cabel, USB A ST - micro USB B ST, 0,8m
1x  L-xxxx download instructions
1x  L-1190 ESD handling instructions
1x  193006 sysWORXX phase tester

- RoHS compliant -

16062000Meshnet Extension sysWORXX RFG-2.4
240011Runtime license OpenPCS RT sysWORXX CTR-700
240012Runtime license OPC-UA Basisserver sysWORXX CTR-700
  

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