Real-time energy use modelling and optimisation

Industry energy tends to have a high baseline, driven by setting equipment to meet the maximum demand of process needs. For instance chilled water has a setpoint of minus 20deg C even though it is only required for a small percentage of time and for specific plant. Compressed air has a setpoint of 10 bar although 95% of equipment requires only 4 bar. Modulation of equipment to demand requirements from end user through distribution to on site utility generation. Much plant, even when it is idle, continues to use from 80 to 100% of its working energy requirement in order to be available to meet worse case scenarios. If this idle energy use can be reduced there is the potential for significant energy saving.

In addition the tendency towards time-of-use costing with electricity and the structure of gas purchasing both mean that there are potential energy cost savings in particular from reducing use, or switching to cheaper energy sources, at time of peak cost.
If, therefore, peak demand can be better predicted, so that peak supply of facilities such as chilling and compressed air are made available only when they are needed, if their setpoints can be adjusted to what is actually required at that time, and if the time of peak demand can be adjusted to times off-peak energy cost, the cost of energy use could be significantly reduced.

This could be facilitated through the application of a better understanding of the drivers of energy use and an improved ability to predict the energy demand.
The aim of this project is to investigate the potential of the provision of modelling software that would assist plant energy personnel to develop of an easy to use system that would provide a fuller understanding of energy usage on site and improved ability to predict energy use.