German research project aims to improve energy distribution in smart grid
August 16, 2012 // Paul Buckley
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is supporting "Energy To Smart Grid" (E2SG), a major European energy research project. Six German partners are working on new technologies for distributing power from the producer to the end consumer.
The aim of the three-year research project is to reduce power losses occurring in energy distribution by 20 percent. E2SG project management is in the hands of Infineon Technologies. The project unites 31 partners in business and research from nine different countries.
According to the German Federal Environment Agency, Germans consume some 600 terawatt hours of electric power per year. Today, approximately 25 percent of this energy is lost in transmission and transformation. Developing power grids as we know them into a smart grid will allow a much more efficient use of the available energy and help to significantly reduce energy losses.
The German research partners are focusing on the smart meters and interfaces (voltage converters and communication technologies) connecting household appliances or lamps with the smart grid. The German E2SG partners include Infineon Technologies, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Devices (IISB), Insta Elektro GmbH, NXP Semiconductors Germany GmbH, RWTH Aachen University and Telefunken Semiconductors GmbH.
The E2SG project has a total European budget of some Euro 34 million. The German partners from business and research are shouldering Euro 4.9 million, while the BMBF is contributing Euro 4.4 million and ENIAC Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership focusing on nanoelectronics, is contributing Euro 1.9 million.
In their aim to reduce the amount of energy lost in transmission between the producer and the end user by 20 percent, the German E2SG partners are concentrating their efforts on developing components for the secure, cost-efficient and energy-efficient networking of devices. These devices include electricity meters using specially secured communication technologies for transmitting information regarding energy use from the individual household to the supplier as well as smart power supply units for home appliances, interior and exterior lighting and energy storage.
In order to ensure the secure and confidential metering and controlling of energy and to cut energy losses by 20 percent, the components being researched will integrate the latest energy-efficient technologies with grid information and sensor data. The components are to take into account the time when consumers wish to use energy; e.g. by running home appliances at low-tariff-times or when the local photovoltaic system is producing energy. Current security and billing standards as well as comfort levels will not be compromised by these innovative features.
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