ResourceKraft News & Updates

News and updates from the energy sector and everything that goes with it from the latest market trends to the ramblings and insights from the brains of our energy engineers & designers.

Motive Drives in Energy Management

Motive Drives in Energy Management

The first step in good energy management practice for motive drives is to carry out an organisational survey of your motor assets. This survey can then be used to develop a motor register identifying as many parameters regarding the motor/drive and process as possible including details like, drive type e.g. V-Belt, etc. This data can easily be built into any spreadsheet application.

Once you have completed your motor register it can now be used for two primary purposes:

1) To develop a motor purchasing policy around future motor procurement within your organisation, and
2) To identify the motors that should be flagged for replacement in any capital works projects (while also be cognoscente of process operations and maintenance).

There are many areas where motive drives can affected overall energy efficiency within your organisation:

1. Power Quality – Poor power quality on site will have adverse effect on motor operations, increasing slip and motor inefficiency. (Power quality on site can be monitored with the use of a suitable power analyser to determine if this is the case).

2. Speed – Does you motor/process need to operate at 100% and all of the time, if not consider VSD as an option to control the process more efficiently.

3. Motor Selection – Select the right motor for the process conditions, many motors are generally oversized for the load requirements, this often happen as a causality of design with each engineer in the design adding a margin of error to calculations. When upgrading or replacing motors consider the process conditions and how the load might be better served if delivered by multiple reduced rating units. E.g. have 3no. 50% motor/pump combinations in place of the popular 2no. 100% duty/standby arrangements. This process setup will allow more agility within your system, provide the require redundancy (as you would be very unlikely to have two failures on one system simultaneously) and you have the added benefit of having 50% head space on your system.

4. Transmission – Consider your transmission system, ask yourself “Is this the best way to couple my load to my drive”, many transmission system as wasteful with you precious energy for example v-belts Vs. flat or ribbed belts, these generally improve transmission efficiency between 4-6%. If utilising a gearbox, consider its efficiency, why is it used, could this be upgraded or replace by a VSD, is it correctly aligned.

5. Process Loses – Can loses be prevented in the system itself?, for example can leaks be removed from pump system or bearings be improved on drives, and

6. Finally, the Process – Ask yourself is this process required? Is it carrying out useful work? Are we just pump fluid around in loops for no reason, can be shut down when not required.

So there is one final question in relation to motors I would like to address, ‘’Repair or Replace”.

It is commonplace for organisation to re-wind motors when they fail and indeed the motor maintenance policy may require that motor are re-wound say every 100,000 operating hours.

The decision to repair/rewind or replace will very much depend on the efficiency of the original motor Vs. the efficiency of available replacements on the market. In many cases this difference can be relatively small. Generally you can expect a re-wound motor to be 0.5-1% less efficient than a direct replacement and a new unit to be 2-4% more efficient than its predecessor. Remember a replacement is always an opportunity to re-size you motor to best fit you process requirements.

Here is a useful formula you can use to determine the best course of action (Source: UK department of the environment and transport, Good Practice Guide 2 “Energy Savings with Motors and Drives” 1998).

Pretty Sparkline Charts with jQuery Sparklines

Pretty Sparkline Charts with jQuery Sparklines

Sparklines are the brainchild of Edward Tufte. They are those “intense, simple, wordlike graphics” that you sometimes find embedded in stock listings and such like.

To help our installation team we have created a little application that runs on installer’s smart phones. This application is written in PHP and is designed to show live energy streamed from our Canary embedded data acquisition devices.

Rather than just show constantly changing energy numbers, we added a little sparkline alongside each number to show the history of that number. Anyhow, probably the most trivial way we could find to do this was jQuery Sparklines which was written by Gareth Watts for Splunk Inc and released under the New BSD License

Anyhow to make this work for your first demo, you need to install the sparklines library in your Javascript/ folder and enter just a little code.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<!--
Copyright (c) ResourceKraft Ltd. 2015
-->

<html>
<head>
<meta charset="UTF-8">
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">
<title>Display Device Stream</title>
<script src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.3/jquery.min.js">   </script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="Javascript/jquery.sparkline.min.js"></script>

<script type="text/javascript">
$(function () {
$('.inlinesparkline').sparkline();
});
</script>
</head>
<body>

<h1>MODBUS Slave Analysis</h1>
<P>Last Update: 3 seconds ago
<h3>MODBUS-34</h3>

<dl>

<dt>i1</dt><dd>9.00 amps<span class="inlinesparkline">30.0,20.0,4.0,5.0,5.0,10.0,11.0,12.0,10.0,20.0,4.0,5.0,5.0,10.0,11.0,12.0,10.0,11.0,12.0,10.0,9.0</span></dd>

<dt>i2</dt><dd>5.00 amps<span class="inlinesparkline">30.0,20.0,4.0,5.0,20.0,4.0,5.0,5.0,10.0,11.0,12.0,10.0,5.0,10.0,11.0,12.0,0.0,0.0,5.0,5.0,5.0</span></dd>

<dt>i3</dt><dd>23.00 amps<span class="inlinesparkline">30.0,20.0,4.0,5.0,5.0,10.0,20.0,4.0,5.0,5.0,10.0,11.0,12.0,10.0,11.0,12.0,0.0,0.0,30.0,24.0,23.0</span></dd>

</dl>

<h3>MODBUS-35</h3>

<dl>

<dt>i1</dt><dd>77.00 amps<span class="inlinesparkline">30.0,20.0,4.0,5.0,5.0,11.0,20.0,4.0,5.0,5.0,10.0,11.0,12.0,10.0,12.0,0.0,0.0,30.0,20.0,90.0,66.0,66.0,77.0</span></dd>

<dt>i2</dt><dd>6.00 amps<span class="inlinesparkline">30.0,20.0,4.0,5.0,20.0,4.0,5.0,5.0,10.0,11.0,12.0,10.0,5.0,11.0,12.0,0.0,0.0,30.0,20.0,4.0,5.0,5.0,6.0</span></dd>

<dt>i3</dt><dd>33.00 amps<span class="inlinesparkline">30.0,20.0,4.0,20.0,4.0,5.0,5.0,10.0,11.0,12.0,10.0,5.0,5.0,30.0,11.0,12.0,0.0,0.0,30.0,25.0,22.0,23.0,33.0</span></dd>

</dl>

</body>
</html>
Leaky Bucket Algorithm

Leaky Bucket Algorithm

Liam Relihan News & Updates

Occasionally, we aim to publish something that has to do with how we implement our hardware and software solutions. Here is one of these “somethings”….

On one of our embedded devices there is the facility to automatically dispatch text messages in response to particular events. However, to protect against the possibility of the device sending out a storm of text messages (e.g. due to a bug in the event detection code), we decided to create a little algorithm to limit the generation of messages in any given period.

To do this we used a little algorithm from the computer networks field called the “leaky bucket” algorithm. Here is what it does…
when the user wishes to do a controlled action (e.g. send an SMS), he tries to add a “drop” of water to the “bucket” using addDropToBucket()
addDropToBucket() checks to see whether some drops should have leaked out since the last call. If so, it lets them leak
then addDropToBucket() checks to see if there is space in the bucket for a single drop. If there is, it adds the drop and returns true, otherwise it returns false
if the user receives “true” he carries out the controlled action, otherwise he doesn’t.

Essentially, the metaphor is that of a leaky bucket leaking out water at a certain rate.

Finally here’s the java code to make it all happen…

 
 /**
     * Leaky bucket algorithm to prevent huge amounts of SMS text messages
     * from being dispatched by any insane processes. Each SMS message
     * sent adds a drop to the
     * bucket which leaks at a constant rate. Once the bucket fills, no
     * message can be sent until a drop has leaked out.
     */
    private class LeakyBucketLimiter {

        private int numDropsInBucket = 0;
        private Date timeOfLastDropLeak = null;
        private final int _BUCKET_SIZE_IN_DROPS = 20;
        private final long _MS_BETWEEN_DROP_LEAKS = 1000 * 60 * 60; // 1 hour

        public synchronized boolean addDropToBucket() {
            Date now = new Date();
            // first of all, let the bucket leak by the appropriate amount
            if (timeOfLastDropLeak != null) {
                long deltaT = now.getTime() - timeOfLastDropLeak.getTime();
                // note round down as part of integer arithmetic
                long numberToLeak = deltaT / _MS_BETWEEN_DROP_LEAKS;
                if (numberToLeak > 0) { //now go and do the leak
                    if (numDropsInBucket <= numberToLeak) {
                        numDropsInBucket = 0;
                    } else {
                        numDropsInBucket -= (int) numberToLeak;
                    }
                    timeOfLastDropLeak = now;
                }
            }

            if (numDropsInBucket < _BUCKET_SIZE_IN_DROPS) {
                numDropsInBucket++;
                return true; // drop added
            }

            return false; // overflow
        }
    }


    // here is how you use it
    bucketLimiter = new LeakyBucketLimiter();
    if (bucketLimiter.addDropToBucket()) {
        // dispatch SMS
    }


 

The above might seem a little excessive, but long term reliability in our measurement and control devices is a really big thing for us. Ideally, each device needs to be able to take care of itself for many years at a time – in fact virtually all of the devices that we installed in our first year of operation 7 years ago are still running. Most have never once being touched by a human hand.

Why Ireland Needs to Get With Engagement…

Why Ireland Needs to Get With Engagement…

Liam Relihan News & Updates

It’s due to become one of the major political hot potatoes over the next couple of years, but many people don’t yet realise that Ireland has signed up to massive carbon reductions by 2020. In the 2007 Government White Paper, Delivering a Sustainable Energy Future for Ireland, a target has been set for a 20% improvement in energy efficiency across the whole economy by 2020. The White Paper also states an ambition to surpass the EU target of 20% with an indicative target of 30% energy efficiency by 2020. Furthermore the paper states that the public service is to take an exemplar role in energy efficiency, with a savings target of 33% by 2020. These targets are incredibly ambitious especially given that Ireland is now a mere 5 years away from 2020.

If Ireland is to achieve even a fraction of these targets without “lawyering” its way out of commitments, it will need to drive action on a range of fronts, including mass retro-fit programmes, financial incentives, financial penalties, and engagement. Central government bodies such as the SEAI are doing a great job with what resources they have. However, there are simply not enough energy experts in the country to do what needs to be done over the next five years.

Customer engagement is increasingly being seen as an extremely effective way to employ individuals to implement their own energy efficiency improvements. Customer engagement uses the power of modern communications technologies to empower customers to interact with their energy providers more easily using the communications channels they prefer. The fact is that Irelands energy utilities are a key part of the solution and they are being woefully under-utilised in the race to 2020. In the United States, utilities are deploying customer engagement programs to achieve greater participation in existing energy efficiency programmes, improved their customer satisfaction ratings, and increase stickiness with their existing customers (because ‘churn’ is the great bane of energy retailers lives).

It is ResourceKraft’s contention that utilities must be leveraged urgently in the final straight to 2020. They must be provided with the tools and the incentives to do the right thing for their customers (and by extension the national 2020 targets). This practically means:

  • energising and empowering customers to modify the way they use energy
  • educating customers about grants and incentives for energy efficient equipment
  • providing high quality information showing customers how they rate against their peers
  • demonstrating that money saved on energy is good for their bottom line, especially if they are businesses

ResourceKraft is already developing technology for such engagement programmes elsewhere in the world, especially the United States. As such it believes that it can bring substantial innovations to the Irish markets. In 2015, ResourceKraft intends to bring its knowledge to government bodies and utilities to show how energy consumers can be part of the solution. In practical terms, it can bring the following to bear:

Smart bills are beautifully formatted energy bills that don’t just show KWh used and costs incurred. These bills will also offer practical, customised advice on how to tackle energy costs

Clever, innovative, data-driven approaches to energy consumers using the latest social media techniques that demonstrate that their energy bills are controllable

Giving customers a good reason to engage with their energy utilities in their efforts to reduce energy costs

Liam Relihan

Thomond Park introduces green-energy analytics system

Thomond Park’s energy analytics software solution allows staff to monitor electricity use and make financial and process decisions about reducing costs and increasing efficiency in the stadium.
Thomond Park Stadium is the home ground of Munster Rugby, one of the most successful and best-supported rugby clubs in the world. The famous venue, renowned for its unique history and atmosphere, has been redeveloped and now boasts an increased capacity of 25,600, plus an extensive range of conference and banqueting facilities that have further enhanced its reputation.

Since 2009, Thomond Park has been working to reduce the environmental impact of managing the stadium by participating in an environmental project to conserve energy, waste and water. Part of this project involved the implementation of an energy analytics software solution in the stadium. The solution would allow management and staff to monitor the electricity use and make financial and process decisions about reducing costs and increasing efficiency.

“We required a system that would provide continuous detail on actual electricity use,” explained Colm Moran, operations manager at Thomond Park Stadium. “We didn’t have any means of monitoring our electricity usage and the absence of this type of data represented one of our biggest challenges.”

Thomond Park selected ResourceKraft’s Energy Analytics Software solution as its standard platform. The solution would allow the park to meet its goals by implementing three ‘smart meters’ in the east and west stands. The web-based energy management cost-control system gathers, processes and analyses energy data from the meters and converts it into business information, enabling the park to understand how and where energy is being consumed at any given time across all sites.

It also enables the park to incorporate key performance indicators, set targets, generate reports and involve management and staff in making informed energy-management decisions in the drive to further reduce energy costs and meet carbon commitments.

“ResourceKraft Advisor created alerts to monitor the east and west stands’ electricity consumption and set alerts to be sent when our threshold of 8kW was reached,” continued Moran. “With the data gathered and analysed, we could put a plan in motion to implement operational savings. The solution provides us with standard and customised reports and we can also record non-energy information
“We’ve been using ResourceKraft’s Advisor software for six months now and we’re monitoring our electricity use”, concluded Moran.
“Advisor has helped us with the implementation of a number of energy-saving initiatives by monitoring our usage in specific areas such as air conditioning, refrigeration and lighting. Thanks to the customised alerts, we’re able to keep a close eye on our maximum threshold target in the monitored areas.”

Dragonfly and the Implications for Irish Businesses

Dublin, Ireland

Yesterday, Liam Relihan, the CTO of ResourceKraft, a Limerick-based supplier of energy management systems warned that Irish businesses and government institutions were vulnerable to an ever larger collection of cyber attackers. He stated that “the Building Management Systems (BMS) and SCADA systems that have been deployed by Irish businesses and government bodies present an increasing attack vector for would-be hackers. Software systems that control water pumping stations and production lines are increasingly being attacked by well-organised groups. These systems were, in some cases, designed in the eighties or nineties and are simply not designed from the ground up to be secure in the hostile environment of the Internet”.

Mr. Relihan explained that dragonfly uses a range of techniques that have evolved over time to infect products provided by companies, which sell Building Management Systems (BMS) and SCADA systems to industrial, commercial and government customers.

He went on to say that :

“the recent Dragonfly campaign has exposed the fact that public utilities are now a target, at a time when increasing automation is needed more than ever to drive efficiencies and to reduce costs”

It is believed by security researches like Symantec and F-Secure that the dragonfly attacks were developed to gather information from the organisations targeted, and open a backdoor for future sabotage. Dragonfly’s targets include energy grid operators, electricity generating businesses, pipelines and suppliers of industrial equipment to the sector in the US, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, and Poland. However, Mr Relihan said there was every likelihood that future attacks would be widened to include Ireland-based organisations. He stated that the problem was compounded by the fact that control systems are increasingly being connected to the cloud to provide for more centralised control. While centralised control is an obvious benefit, it means that what might previously have been relatively secure systems are now vulnerable to a range of attacks.

Mr. Relihan says that in his conversations with ResourceKraft customers, he encourages customers to sever any open connections to vendors that give them “back door” remote access to their control system devices. He also discretely mentioned a large multinational based in Ireland that recently installed a state-of-the-art building control system. The system was designed to be attached to the Internet for energy monitoring. However, within hours it had been subjected to cyber-attacks from the Far East. The system has now been disconnected from the Internet.

Green Awards Finalists 2012

ResourceKraft is delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for The Green Energy Award & The Green Innovation Award at the 2012 Green Awards. There was a huge response to this year’s awards with entries from the highest echelons of Ireland’s Green community. Being shortlisted is a great honor.

ResourceKraft recognised as An industry leader in Groom Energy’s new report

ResourceKraft recognised as An industry leader in Groom Energy’s new report “Enterprise Smart Grid and a Corporate Buyer’s Guide to Energy Management Software”

Dublin – Ireland March 13th – ResourceKraft has been ranked with other selected industry leaders in Groom Energy’s new report “Enterprise Smart Grid and a Corporate Buyer’s Guide to Energy Management software”. Enterprise Smart Grid is the integration of sub-metering, hardware and software by organisations that seek visibility, control and management of their energy consumption. According to Groom Energy’s research, this new market represents a $5.2B industry within the U.S., and is growing at 40 per cent per year.

Following extensive interviews, Groom have identified that managers increasingly recognise the business need to more proactively manage their energy consumption. Their energy costs are increasing, their constituents are pressing them to act, and they’ve realised there is no quick fix – the solution requires improved management processes and technology. Groom concludes that companies need to implement their own energy network, analogous to the utility smart grid, which delivers a management system they can use to more proactively manage their energy consumption.

Limerick-based energy cost control technology specialist ResourceKraft, has been recognised as one of the top 44 companies worldwide in Enterprise Smart Grid, offering principally software-related products and services and exhibited strong commercialisation of their technology with their customers.

Commenting on the ranking, VP of Business Development of ResourceKraft, Frank Casey, says: “Being named in Groom Energy’s influential report highlights the effectiveness of our energy management software for retail, commercial and manufacturing. Our ability to meet Groom Energy’s strict criteria for recognition is a significant commercial validation of ResourceKraft energy management solutions”

Tweets