Summary of the project:
The objective of this project was to develop a scaled prototype of a factory that optimizes the use of its renewable power sources by adding a smart energy management system that will monitor current consumption at different points of the system, and will perform actions based on the gathered data. Real-time decisions can also be executed by users from remote locations, through the use of a global internet-based server. In order to assure that load demand will always be fully met, the renewable source is interfaced with the utility grid by using a bi-directional inverter, which empowers the user to determine the amount of current that will be injected to the AC side or received at the DC one. Given that power flow is fully controllable, the use of a battery bank in parallel with the renewable source can be also be optimally achieved with the developed system. A testing environment composed of different AC loads such as fans, heaters, and motors, was designed to prove effectiveness of the proposed project. Implementation was successful and the team is convinced that a system like the proposed one – which is fully adaptable to specific needs – is capable of maximizing the use of renewable sources at industrial sites, minimizing electricity bills, and empowering users to analyze operational data that can eventually allow for implementation of energy saving actions.