Smart Systems & Heat technology, ICT Infrastructure & Value Chain projects

Published on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 12:24
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has launched four projects worth more than £1m to help catalogue the technology infrastructure and identify the ICT as well as the value chains required to develop, design, test and demonstrate a first of a kind Smart Energy System for the UK.

The ETI's Smart Systems and Heat (SSH) technology programme will develop an integrated system to distribute low carbon heat and provide energy services around our cities in a cost-effective and secure manner.

Hitachi Europe, a wholly owned subsidiary of ETI Associate Member Hitachi Ltd, will lead a £500,000 project to help identify and characterise the technologies that are required for the successful deployment of a smart energy system. Hitachi Europe will partner with EDF Energy's R&D UK Centre, Element Energy, David Vincent & Associates and Imperial College London on the technologies project.

Hitachi Europe is also the prime contractor on a £100,000 project to identify the requirements for the ICT system needed to support the deployment of the smart heat system. Meanwhile, consultancy DNV Kema will lead on a separate, parallel £100,000 ICT project to the one with Hitachi.

In the fourth project, consultancy Frontier Economics will lead on a £600,000 project to address how value can be achieved across the entire smart systems value chain. All four projects are due to be completed by the Summer.

Dr Grant Bourhill, the ETI's Smart Systems and Heat Director, said:

The demand for heat and energy services in the future has to be understood and we have to find better ways of managing and delivering heat in a cost-effective, clean and secure manner. These projects are essential to fulfilling our aim of launching the first of a kind smart energy system in the UK.

Kiyoshi Yamamoto, Managing Director of Hitachi Europe, added:

Hitachi' Europe's role in these projects as a Key Delivery Partner will see our engineers leverage our knowledge capital and expertise gained from similar engagements across the world in the UK. Our aim is to help ensure the UK is at the front of the pack in developing smart systems that enable an efficient use of energy while meeting consumers' needs. We are delighted to be part of the SSH programme to develop one of the most ambitious smart systems ever in the UK.

Sarah Deasley, Director of Frontier Economics, said

We are delighted to be working with the ETI on this important and exciting project. Gaining a better understanding of the business models that will make commercial deployment of smart systems more likely, and identifying barriers that could prevent an effective transition to this future, is a vital part of the ETI's overall aim to launch a smart energy system in the UK.

Matt Freeman, Senior Smart Energy specialist at DNV KEMA concluded:

Heating homes and small commercial buildings requires a significant amount of energy. Indeed, heating, transport and household appliances make up the large majority of an individual's total energy requirement. So, looking at smarter ways of providing these three essential 'services' in an affordable and less carbon intensive way is a challenge which the UK simply has to address sooner rather than later. This is precisely what makes the SSH programme so unique, not just in the UK – but globally. Information and Communications Technology, which will inevitably provide the foundation for delivering such an enormous change by 2050, is moving at a pace which far exceeds the energy infrastructure itself. Therefore, figuring out ways of coupling the two presents some huge challenges but also provides huge opportunities for economic growth.

These four ETI commissioned and funded projects build on a £3m Consumer Response and Behaviour research project launched in November 2012 which will lead to a comprehensive behavioural study involving thousands of householders, focused on heat and energy consumption in the UK. The ETI has recently signed a lease on a new office at Birmingham Business Park which will become the SSH programme's office. Once fully occupied more than 30 engineers, programme delivery, technology strategy and support staff will be employed on site.

Source: ETI

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