Power monitoring system supports Fraunhofer IISB

Project towards sustainable Energy

How can energy be used more efficiently in industrial facilities?

How can power be generated, stored, and supplied sustainably in industrial conditions? And what effects do characteristic factors like line harmonics and reactive power, or secondary forms of energy like cold, heat, and process gases have on the system as a whole? The SEEDs research project has been dealing with these questions since early 2013. Three institutes of the Fraunhofer Group are collaborating on the project, which is funded by the Bavarian Ministry of Economics. All the threads come together at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology (IISB) in Erlangen. In this, the focus is on small to medium enterprises with an energy base load in the single-digit megawatt range. 

Fraunhofer IISB’s own building complex is serving as a study and demonstration platform. Due to power-intensive technology, device and material developments, the complex’s requirements and energy consumption are similar to those of a small-scale industrial company. Researchers need to know exactly where and how power is flowing in order to achieve the goals set for SEEDs. Different types of energy are measured: electric current, the power generated in three photovoltaic systems, heat, cooling, ventilation, and air-conditioning, and even the in-house compressed air system, as well as a large DC system for research tasks. Meteorological data is also included in the monitoring.


Systematic power monitoring

After assessing various power monitoring systems, the decision was made to go ahead with the powermanager from Siemens, which runs as a stand-alone system at Fraunhofer IISB. It monitors and archives data from over 50 measuring points in various devices. The metering of electrical energy data, including voltages, currents, power, energy values, and frequencies generally occurs directly via measuring devices from Siemens’ Sentron portfolio. Among others, the standard models in the 7KM PAC 3100 and 3200 series are deployed, along with 7KM PAC 4200 units having multi-master capabilities. These devices allow data detection right down to system level.

Reducing load peaks

Thanks to the introduction of powermanager software, virtually all energy flows at Fraunhofer IISB are now tracked precisely. 

The entire power monitoring system is updated every second in real time. These short intervals have brought SEEDs researchers a crucial step closer to their goal of reducing load peaks, as electrical energy stores in particular can now be switched on and off as needed. The exact analysis of energy flows in day-to-day operations helps to identify optimization potential, such as non-streamlined operating strategies for concrete core activation, or for coupled heating pumps. In addition, the data is also very helpful for troubleshooting, e.g. when a switch triggers a false alarm for the emergency backup cooling system in the server room.