IoTWORLD® Smart Grids
The smart grid is envisioned as the evolution of the current energy grid, which faces important challenges, such as blackouts caused by peaks of energy demand that exceed the energy grid capacity. A proposed approach to alleviate this problem is to incentivize the consumers to reschedule their energy consumption to different time intervals with lower expected power demand. These incentives are based on dynamic pricing tariffs that consider a variable energy price.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) modules are considered as the most energy demanding appliances in buildings. The significant energy consumption of the HVAC systems, along with their direct influence on the user’s well-being, highlights the necessity for effective HVAC management algorithms that reduce the power consumption in buildings, taking into account the end-user’s comfort.
To this end, a system relying on energy scheduling methods was designed, see Fig. 1. These techniques assume a specific smart pricing tariff and various time periods. For each of these time intervals, the scheduler determines the operational power (ON or OFF) of the HVACs modules both to minimize the energy consumption cost and to respect the users’ comfort constraints. These decisions are sent to actuators through an Ethernet connection. The actuators consist on programmable sockets where the HVACs are connected. To assess the comfort, the temperature is measured at several building positions by different sensor nodes that form a wireless sensor network (WSN), thus providing a more accurate measure of comfort compared to traditional methods. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm, the user may interact remotely with the HVAC control system. In particular, a web server application was developed, which permits the user to decide remotely the temperature of comfort. Moreover, by means of this web application the real-time temperature and energy consumption information is sent through Internet and displayed at the end user’s device. The energy scheduler, the web server application and a database, that stores the data measurements, form part of the Gateway subsystem. This is exemplified in more detail in Fig. 2, where a block diagram of the overall system is displayed.
Fig 3. shows in more detail the inputs (Smart pricing tariff, temperatures measurements and the user constraints) and the outputs (the decision to switch on or off a load) of the energy schedulers proposed.
Monitoring Web Application
The IoTWORLD® Smart Grid experiment is running continuously. Measurements can be checked in real-time through the following link: http://monitoring.iotworld.cttc.es