Grid Router.. an SmartMeter by SmartSynch

Smart meters need to communicate with appliances, consumers, and utilities, and a standardized protocol doesn’t exist. That’s where GridRouter comes in. I read more about this smart grid issue and I found a lot of Smart meters!

I assured you’ll probably see GridRouter’s headed to your neighborhood sometime soon—as we discussed when SmartSynch first announced its plans for a so-called universal communications model, the GridRouter has the potential to future-proof the smart grid

The smart grid demands an efficient, scalable communications hub. The GridRouter is the first tool uniquely positioned to act as such a hub. This product will change how the smart grid operates, making it more cost effective, more efficient, and more adaptable. It is the first device that allows utilities to interact with any grid asset regardless of the type of network, technology, or system. As technology or bandwidth requirements change, so can the GridRouter. It is field upgradable, allowing you to protect your investment, while staying current with new applications.

IP-based public wireless networks enable utilities to strategically and rapidly deploy more secure and scalable smart grid solutions with minimal capital expenditures. IP networks and solutions may be remotely upgraded to interface with new technologies, since they are built upon open standards and leverage existing programs and tools. SmartSynch’s IP-based Smart Grid communications infrastructure encourages rapid application innovation and delivery of new functionality by allowing the broadest spectrum of ecosystem participants to focus on providing maximum benefits to utilities and their customers.

for more info click here

What the Greentech Can Do for Electric Cars

Cheaper, longer-lasting, safer and smaller — those are the kinds of rechargeable batteries that could become available for electric cars if some of the research projects funded under the Department of Energy’s latest round of grants for high-risk, early-stage energy technologies deliver on their moonshot ambitions.

Of the more than $106 million in grants announced this week under the Energy Department’s ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) program, nearly a third — some $34.6 million — has been allocated to 10 projects developing energy storage tech for plug-in vehicles. In addition, 13 projects working on electrofuels (converting hydrogen and carbon dioxide into motor fuel, for example), have garnered more than $41.2 million.

In the group of energy storage projects, a 6-year-old company called ReVolt Technology (a spin-off of one of the research institute SINTEF, Norway) won the largest award — just over $5 million — to work on zinc-air flow batteries that would enable plug-in vehicles to drive longer distances on a single charge. Sion Power Corp, founded in 1994 as a spin-off from Brookhaven National Lab, follows close behind with a $5 million grant to develop a lithium-sulfur battery that in theory could power an electric vehicle for more than 300 miles between charges.

Created in 2007, but left unfunded until the passage of last year’s Recovery Act, ARPA-E has $400 million to award over two years, and winning teams are required to share at least 10 percent of the project costs. Since the program is meant to support work on tech that other investors consider too risky, each of the awards represents something of a gamble.

Massachusetts-based battery maker A123Systems, which went public in September and scored a $249 million DOE grant last summer, has gotten in on two of the latest ARPA-E bets, as a partner on projects led by Applied Materials and MIT. Awarded grants of more than $4 million each, those projects will focus on developing a low-cost manufacturing process for lithium-ion batteries, and a new type of semi-solid rechargeable flow battery.

Other winners in this latest round of grants include startup Planar Energy (about $4 million), PolyPlus Technologies (nearly $5 million), MIT spin-off Pellion Technologies ($3.2 million), Recapping Inc. ($1 million) based in Menlo Park, Calif., and Missouri University of Science & Technology (nearly $1 million), working on a lithium-air battery.

While 10 projects focused on energy storage tech for transportation in this latest round, there’s only one automaker in the mix: Honda, which is partnering research into all-electron batteries (moving electrons rather than ions) led by Stanford University.

In the bigger picture, if even one of these research projects pans out it could disrupt the auto industry as we know it. That’s a big “if” however, and this research remains at an early enough stage that we likely won’t see the impact of it for years to come. As as CalCars.org founder Felix Kramer has put it to us, ARPA-E is “explicitly for long-term home runs,” rather than near-term solutions.

For the full list of awards and project descriptions, click here

SmartMeters for your home

Agilewaves constantly monitors electric, gas and water use and provides accurate consumption and carbon footprint information in real-time, from any web enabled device, from anywhere in the world. The system intelligence can send automatic notifications of leaks, excessive energy use or carbon emissions via email or text messaging, and can seamlessly communicate with home control systems.

measuring the ecological footprint of a property in real-time, the technology can monitor each individual circuit, water line, and gas appliance. The flexible system can also track other factors such as temperature/humidity, output from solar PV, performance of solar or geo-thermal water heating, indoor air quality and even living architecture. Current and historical information is automatically stored allowing powerful trend analysis and comparative features to be easily displayed across any time period. The system, custom-designed for larger buildings and higher-end homes, needs to be installed by an electrician and can also be used to dim lights, turn on and off heating and cooling, and adjust smart appliances.

What’s included on the system?

A basic system is turn-key and includes all the associated sensors, hardware and pre-configured software to monitor main water, main gas, and main electric plus 7 additional individual circuits of your choice (equipment, appliances, lights, sub-panels, etc). This is a suggested system starting point only and the system can easily be refined to monitor additional electric, gas or water points of use, as well as indoor air quality, solar, geo-thermal, green living roofs, climate and more

how is it installed?

Sensors are mounted and wired back to an Agilewaves Sensor Integration Panel (ASIP). The electrical sensors mount directly in the circuit breaker panel(s), so do not require invasive installation within the home or building. The gas, water and other sensors are installed at their monitoring point and wired back to the nearest ASIP. In some cases, Agilewaves may be able to gather data from existing “communicating” utility meters or equipment, avoiding the need for additional sensors. Wireless is an option, but only used as a last resort.Agilewaves can communicate with smart meters also.

visit Agilewaves at http://www.agilewaves.com/ to learn about prices and how to order it.

Learning about impact of the Smart Meters on electricity use

In recent months 131,000 households and businesses in nine near west suburbs and in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood have received new Smart Meters in preparation for a pilot program to examine the impact of new technology on electricity use.

This week, ComEd kicked off a public education campaign about the program with its first informational meeting for Oak Park residents at the village’s public library.

Smart Meters are expected to help consumers monitor and reduce electricity use and their carbon footprint while helping utilities adjust distribution and eventually reduce the number and duration of power outages. The new meters are the first step toward the creation of a “smart grid,” which uses a digital system rather than a mechanical one to communicate power needs and problems along the lines.

The pilot program will run from June 1 to May 31, 2011. In early June residents will be able to log on to a new Web site to see how much power they used the previous day and how much it cost them. The site will also include ways for residents and businesses to reduce their usage, said Larry Kotewa, a senior engineer with CNT Energy, a division of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, which is working with ComEd on the project.

Smart Meters were installed well in advance of the pilot program to make sure the system is up and working, Kotewa said. The meters will send digital signals to ComEd every 30 minutes rather than having someone physically read the meter once a month. In addition, any power outage in a home will be reported back to the utility immediately.

For now, the 8,000 households with monitors will remain capped for the pilot program, said Alicia Zatkowski, senior manager of communications for ComEd.

Similar information sessions about ComEd’s pilot program will be held in the other participating towns: Bellwood, Forest Park, Melrose Park, Maywood, Broadview, Berwyn, River Forest and Hillside. The next informational meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Berwyn Public Library, 2701 S. Harlem Ave.

For more info click here

Communities in California install SmartMeters, first step: Orange County

Southern California Edison (SCE) will install smart electric meters throughout communities in Orange County as part of the Edison SmartConnect program.

SCE customers in those communities will receive new meters starting this week through June. Communities in the upcoming installation phase include: Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Midway City, Seal Beach, Sunset Beach and Westminster.

Ken Devore, director of Edison SmartConnect program at SCE, said: “Over the past several years, we have focused on developing an industry-leading smart meter program, including extensive testing of our smart meters and associated systems to ensure their quality and performance.

“Smart meters will empower our customers to become better managers of their electricity usage through new tools, programs and services that will help them save energy, money, and the environment.”

Within the next year, SCE will introduce new pricing plans, programs and services that will empower customers to make informed decisions about their energy use. In the second half of 2010 and beyond, once the advanced features are fully activated, the meters will be enabled to communicate with the next generation of smart thermostats, appliances and other devices, the company said.

The first smart meter in the Edison SmartConnect program was installed last September in Downey, California, with installations continuing through 2012 to total nearly five million SCE residential and small-business customers in the utility’s service territory. To date, SCE has installed approximately 600,000 meters.

SCE has contracted with Corix Utilities to perform most of the installations. Edison SmartConnect is a $1.6bn program authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission.

for more info click here

Big companies into Smart Grid

Today I saw something interesting, really big companies are really into this smart grid wave , what’s going on in the next years in this field?

Intel and Cisco are  launching in on smart grid projects, starting off with partnering up with other companies to run pilot tests of several different types of home energy management devices in Oregon. Being part of the smart grid is becoming a must-do for technology companies, particularly those with a stake in communications and device management, since we’ll continue to (slowly) see progress toward a fully integrated electrical grid that links consumers to their utilities with real time energy information an pricing. Intel’s take is that while the smart grid will be one big beast, we have a need for many different types of home energy management systems. And that’s where it’s starting to take a bigger role.

Intel already has created its own home energy dashboard concept device, and showed it off at CES 2010. As I stood at the booth checking it out, there were several people asking what it was, what it did, why we needed something like this, which proved that we have a long way to go before knowledge about and desire for devices such as these filter into mainstream consciousness. That’s one reason why Google’s PowerMeter and its partnership with The Energy Detective device is exciting – a company with that kind of reach among consumers will help get these other devices off the ground as well.

In addition to its own home energy dashboard device, Intel has partnered with Open Peak, which has already created OpenFrame 7, another device I saw at CES 2010 and is part of a pilot project. And according to CNet, Intel is also looking at getting its chips inside other devices linked into the smart grid, such as servers for grid substations.

Cisco wants to push forward the adoption of Internet Protocol (IP)-based communications standards for smart grids. As Inbar Lasser-Raab, senior director of Market Management at Cisco put it in our conversation last week, IP is the obvious future for the smart grid. To that end, members of Cisco’s ecosystem will all take part in supporting interoperability testing and moving the industry to an IP-based infrastructure for smart grids and energy management applications.

A buzz topic in smart grid news of late has been security. Cisco is also looking closely at the issue with this announcement. The company states that it is going to offer security services that include everything from utility compliance and physical site security vulnerability assessment, to security of the physical and networking designs from energy source to utilities to consumers.

A list of the companies who are part of the ecosystem can be found at Cisco’s site, but some of the names you’ll recognize off the bat because we’ve talked about their presence on the smart grid scene before, include Verizon as a connectivity provider, GridPoint and Itron as technology vendors, and Capegemini as a system integrator and consultant, just to name a tiny handful.

for more info click here

OnStream revealed Gas Smart Meters

OnStream, National Grid’s non-regulated competitive gas and electricity metering business, has launched new electricity and gas smart meters, which it claims, will help the UK meet its renewable energy and carbon emissions targets.

The new meters developed by OnStream and a trial in conjunction with two energy suppliers (npower and Scottish and Southern Energy) kicks off with 2,000 of them being rolled out to British homes this summer.

The new meters developed by OnStream and a trial in conjunction with two energy suppliers (npower and Scottish and Southern Energy) kicks off with 2,000 of them being rolled out to British homes this summer.

The pilot includes standalone meters for both electricity and gas. Previously, smart gas meters still relied on electricity meters to transmit their information. Now, however, they can operate independently, minimizing data issues and maximizing installations, the company said.

In addition, the new meters also feature a roaming SIM, allowing them to pick up the strongest nearby mobile network to transmit their information from any location.

OnStream said that the new mobile communications-based meters use low levels of electricity, giving it the low level of power consumption. The meters also include the ability to accommodate communication with smart appliances as they become more widely available, leading to the formation of the smart grid.

Over recent years, OnStream has participated in a range of smart meter trials, through which it recognized a gap in the market for a new communications-based smart meter and developed its own communications platform – a smart core of electronics and features to which metrology can be added.

Using this, OnStream created a new electricity smart meter and a standalone gas smart meter, with more products being developed all based on this core communications platform.

The smart metering system meets the requirements of the Energy Retailers Association and the Department of Energy and Climate Change specifications, offering two-way communication, time of use tariffs, Open HAN (home area network) and other functionality.

Others include investment in the electricity transmission networks to connect new and renewable generation, through to the company’s own target of reducing its emissions by 45% by 2020, and linking executive bonuses to meeting emissions targets.

Sharon Rodriguez, director of OnStream said: Smart meters and smart grids will be a key part of Britain’s energy future. Our new meters are a major breakthrough in the technology, and a significant development towards making smart grids a reality. It offers our customers – the energy suppliers – a significant step forward in both technology and service.

Do you know OnStream SmartMeters?

OnStream’s electricity smart meter

A multi-rate, single phase electricity meter that supports a wealth of smart functionality (including time of use tariffs, credit, prepayment and Pay As You Go, import and export).

OnStream’s standalone gas smart meter

This meter incorporates both wide area and local communications so it can work independently of the electricity meter.

Benefits

OnStream solution meets the standard market requirements for smart functionality, supporting two-way communications, time of use tariffs, Pay As You Go and prepayment and other functionality.

In addition, the meters have a combination of unique benefits.

Roaming SIM

The new meters also feature a roaming SIM, allowing the meters to detect the strongest available mobile network to transmit information to and from energy suppliers.

For more info click here

Smart Grid Systems in your Neighborhood?

While Advanced Metering Infrastructure, which allows wireless communication between utilities and meters, has been going in across the country for over a decade, it is only recently that they have been developing into smart grid systems.

Could a smart grid system be growing in your area?

Smart grids are one step up from AMI on the evolutionary ladder because they allow two-way communication between homes and utilities and the ability to remotely control appliances and power consumption, which leads to accurate real-time pricing by utilities, and accurate monitoring and conservation. Utilities can send response demands to homes, such as requesting them to turn down a thermostat during peak hours, homeowner energy use habits can be tracked and adjusted, and a more honest and fair pricing system leads to better conservation abilities.

AMI is the root of developed smart grid systems, but many issues stand in the way of progress, including standardization and wireless connections. However, getting smart grids up and running is increasing in priority level, as we see with some of the massive projects highlighted here.

A new report published by The Climate Group entitled “SMART 2020: enabling the low carbon economy in the information age” goes into detail about how implementing this rapidly growing technology could help cut a significant portion of emissions, and even further, save global businesses a whopping $685 billion annually.

That savings is making everyone’s palms itch.

In which part of  development are the the U.S. So where are we at in terms of integrating smart grids here in the US? Well, we’re definitely still taking baby steps. Thanks to the help of SmartMeters and a handy Google Map, we’ve gathered up the up-and-running smart grid projects currently happening in the states.

if you wanna take a look in you area click GoogleMaps

Grid Technology Comes to the iPhone and Sony PlayStation 3

Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE) is the world’s largest multi-disciplinary computing grid, supporting the research of thousands of scientists and bringing together to the processing power of hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide. The grid and the software that glues it all together, known as middleware, is designed to run on a widely diverse range of computers. Now, a team from Ireland has adapted the grid software gLite to run on the Play Station 3. An Italian group has been able to use the iPhone to access grid enabled digital repositories.

Since 2007 researchers from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) have been collaborating on the computing challenge inherent in drug discovery, and so when in the latter half of 2008 Symbiosis Ltd introduced a PS3 port of their eHITS drug discovery, the TCD team began in early 2009 to look into adapting, or porting EGEE’s grid middleware, gLite, to the PS3 platform. Since then their PS3 cluster has grown to 16 machines, which they can use to investigate the interactions between possible drug candidates and the diseases they are trying to treat. What makes this possible are the seven Synergistic Processing Elements (SPEs) that give the machine its computational power at relatively low cost. These elements are designed especially to support the complex 3D vector calculations that enable graphic intensive gaming — but also happen to be ideally suited to the team’s drug discovery work.

Eamonn Kenny who is on the TCD team was delighted with how well received the work has been by EGEE, “EGEE represents a major platform for European science, and its impetus toward multi-platform support is extremely helpful.”

While the EGEE computing grid is known for supplying huge amounts of processing power, it also provides a framework that allows databases and other information sources to be interlinked easily. Teams looking to create global digital repositories can use the grid to give access to their resources to research communities from all over the world. With both smart phones and high speed 3G networks moving rapidly into the mainstream a group of researchers from INFN Catania and University of Catania in Sicily saw an opportunity for an application to allow people access to digital repositories wherever and whenever they want.

Using gLibrary, which is based on the gLite middleware, an organisation can organise, populate, browse, search and access libraries of digital objects that have been stored on a distributed grid system. Accessing these resources from a user’s home machine is quite straightforward but more problematic if the researcher is travelling. This is where smartphones and multi-media devices such as the iPhone and the upcoming iPad show their strengths. Devices of this type are designed for accessing information while on the move but can also handle different types of data, such as videos, audio files, images, documents, spreadsheets and many more.

Using the Catania team’s application, a user can browse the digital libraries stored on the grid from their iPhone, query and inspect all the objects’ metadata and simply tap the screen to download a copy the from the closest storage element. They can choose the closest source either by selecting a location from a list or by using the built-in GPS to calculate their current position. During the event, the browsing of digital repositories of ancient manuscripts (cultural heritage) and satellite data (earth science) created with gLibrary will be demonstrated.

Both of these projects use commercially available platforms to run or interface with EGEE’s software. This demonstrates the flexibility and portability of EGEE’s software as well as one of the real world applications for distributed 24/7 access to the digital repositories made possible by EGEE.

The resources currently coordinated by EGEE will be managed through the European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) from May 2010. In EGI each country’s grid infrastructure will be run by National Grid Initiatives. The adoption of this model will enable the next leap forward in research infrastructures to support collaborative scientific discoveries. EGI will ensure abundant, high-quality computing support for the European and global research community for many years to come.

Learn more at http://www.eu-egee.org/

http://twitter.com/EnablingGrids

New Bacterium Doubles Hydrogen Gas Production

Hydrogen gas is today used primarily for manufacturing chemicals, but a bright future is predicted for it as a vehicle fuel in combination with fuel cells. In order to produce hydrogen gas in a way that is climate neutral, bacteria are added to forestry or household waste, using a method similar to biogas production. One problem with this production method is that hydrogen exchange is low, i.e. the raw materials generate little hydrogen gas.

Now, for the first time, researchers have studied a newly discovered bacterium that produces twice as much hydrogen gas as the bacteria currently used. The results show how, when and why the bacterium can perform its excellent work and increase the possibilities of competitive biological production of hydrogen gas.

“There are three important explanations for why this bacterium, which is called Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus, produces more hydrogen gas than others. One is that it has adapted to a low-energy environment, which has caused it to develop effective transport systems for carbohydrates and the ability to break down inaccessible parts of plants with the help of enzymes. This in turn means it produces more hydrogen gas. The second explanation is that it can cope with higher growth temperatures than many other bacteria. The higher the temperature, the more hydrogen gas can be formed,” summarises Karin Willquist, doctoral student in Applied Microbiology at Lund University. She will soon be presenting a thesis on the subject.

The third explanation is that the CS bacterium can still produce hydrogen gas even in difficult conditions, for example high partial hydrogen pressure, which is necessary if biological hydrogen gas production is to be financially viable.

On the other hand, the bacterium does not like high concentrations of salt or hydrogen gas. These affect the signalling molecules in the bacterium and, in turn, the metabolism in such a way that it produces less hydrogen gas.

“But it is possible to direct the process so that salt and hydrogen gas concentrations do not become too high,” points out Karin Willquist.

When hydrogen is used as an energy carrier, for example in car engines, water is the only by-product. However, because the hydrogen gas production itself, if it is carried out by a conventional method, consumes large amounts of energy, hydrogen gas is still not a very environmentally friendly energy carrier.

Reforming of methane or electrolysis of water are currently the most common ways to produce hydrogen gas. However, methane gas is not renewable and its use leads to increased carbon dioxide emissions. Electrolysis requires energy, usually acquired from fossil fuels, but also sometimes from wind or solar power. Hydrogen gas can also be generated from wind power, which is an environmentally friendly alternative, even if wind power is controversial for other reasons.

“If hydrogen gas is produced from biomass, there is no addition of carbon dioxide because the carbon dioxide formed in the production is the same that is absorbed from the atmosphere by the plants being used. Bio-hydrogen gas will probably complement biogas in the future,” predicts Karin Willquist.

Today there are cars that run on hydrogen gas, e.g. the Honda FCX, even if they are few in number. The reason for this is that it is too expensive to produce hydrogen gas and there is no functioning hydrogen infrastructure.

“A first step towards a hydrogen gas society could be to mix hydrogen gas with methane gas and use the existing methane gas infrastructure. Buses in Malmö, for example, drive on a mixture of hydrogen gas and methane gas,” says Karin Willquist.

Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus was isolated for the first time in 1987 in a hot spring in New Zealand. It is only recently that researchers have really begun to realise the potential of the bacterium.

For more information click here