The Triangulum Project

Creating a smart city

Making Manchester a smart city

How can you make a city a better place to work and live? With 70% predicted to live in urban areas by 2050, we need to develop smart innovations on how we communicate, move around, manage our buildings, and get our energy in our cities.

With electricity demand in the UK set to double by 2050 the energy system is developing into a more diverse network with many sources of power, combining the traditional centralised model of power generation and distribution, with renewable generation and more local, decentralised energy systems.


But can the current energy system cope with this change and can buildings use energy in a smarter way?


The Triangulum project is looking at how to develop cities fit for the future focusing on three key themes of Energy, Mobility and ICT. It is a Horizon 2020 project funded by the EU, developing smart city innovations across three Lighthouse Cities of Manchester, Eindhoven and Stavanger, creating replicable solutions for follower cities.

What's happening in Manchester?

Within the energy work stream Siemens is working to transform Manchester's Oxford Road Corridor into a ‘Smart Quarter’, with three key partners Manchester City Council, University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University.   The aims of these innovations are to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions, flatten peak demand on the power network and increase the use of renewable and low carbon energy within the city. There are four main projects in the energy stream:

Central Controller

Central Controller

We have created a city-level cloud based energy management platform, known as a Virtual Power Plant. The platform provides visibility of energy consumption throughout core buildings on Oxford Road, enabling insights from data which enable us to put measures in place to reduce energy consumption and help show us where we can engage with people from specific buildings.


The platform integrates to individual Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS), systems which manage the environmental conditions of buildings at Manchester City Council and the University of manchester. By doing this, Siemens has been able to condition the BEMS to operate with an insight of the electrical grid. This means that at times of peak demand and high energy prices, the Central Controller can instruct the BMS to reduce consumption - helping to reduce peak-load on the electrical network. Reducing peak-load decreases the likelihood that the UK’s energy system operator will instruct back-up, typically polluting, generators for extra energy to ensure security of supply throughout the nations network.


The Central Controller coordinates asset output at either a building, campus or city level in order to demonstrate how a new energy economy can be created throughout a smart city. As part of demonstrating a smart and decentralized energy system, the Central Controller integrates with flexible electrical energy storage assets with green generation, and low carbon assets such as solar PV or wind turbines, which have a more intermittent generation, to ensure a constant electrical supply. 


When bringing together flexible load, storage and generation assets throughout the city into a smart cloud-based management system, Siemens is demonstrating how sustainable solutions can drive operating cost reductions, reduce city emissions, engage citizens and also outline how city stakeholders can create additional revenues from their existing assets and estates.  If the Central Controller solution were to be scaled across Manchester, conservative estimates suggest upwards of 42,000tCOper annum could be saved.  

Building Management optimisation

When making a building sustainable, looking at how much energy your building consumes and reducing this to its optimum is the first step in an energy improvement programme. Siemens worked with the Council to undertake a series of ‘Investment Grade Audits’ (IGA’s) which assess how the Manchester Art Gallery is currently operating vs. it’s original design parameters, and also how the introduction of new technologies could reduce energy consumption as well as benefit the buildings and its users. 


The audit on the Grade-2 listed building in the heart of the city advised that a replacement BEMS would return significant savings for the site. As a result the team installed a new Siemens Desigo CC BEMS platform which is expected to deliver circa £40,000 savings, with a 24% reduction in gas consumption and 12% saving in electricity use.


In terms of Green House Gas emissions, this improvement equates to an expected 190,404 kg/ year of CO2 emissions savings. Such Behind the Meter (BtM) innovations help ensure a sustainable future for historic buildings, but also preserve the art at the correct temperature for the city of Manchester and its inhabitants. 


With this programme, the Art Gallery will be able to prove they are able to control the environment and humidity, enabling them to apply to house new pieces of art.

Battery storage at Manchester Met

Siemens has been working with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) on its onsite energy system and have installed a Lithium-ion battery to integrate with current onsite generation.


Primarily charged at night-time from the grid supply, the 400kWh Lithium-ion battery storage works with the 375kWh Combined Heat and Power generation, the 157kWh solar panels to supply to provide the Birley Campus with cheaper, greener power. These are all controlled by a microgrid controller with a demand side response system that actively manages generation, energy storage and flexible load assets to improve energy consumption on campus, reduces emissions and delivers cost savings.


As the UK’s number one green university in 2017’s People and Planet University League, sustainability is a key topic in the curriculum, with students learning about the energy centre and battery storage. The students will be actively involved in a campus energy consumption reduction trial via an app.

Grid Independence study

With the ambition to develop the Oxford Road Corridor into a ‘Smart Corridor’ Siemens carried out a study to emulate conditions for partial or full ‘Corridor’ energy independence from the grid using unconstrained and constrained network analysis. With ambitions for the future of 20-25% of energy being delivered by local, low carbon resources, Siemens investigated how renewable technologies could be integrated into the existing electrical network.


The current electrical system in the UK has been designed for energy to flow one way from the point of centralised generation like power stations to the point of use. With the increase of local and onsite energy generation and traditional energy consumers being producers and trading their energy, the energy system now needs to be bidirectional so energy can flow both ways. The system has not been designed to have many points of local generation so it needs careful analysis about where new generation can be put in with the right infrastructure sitting around it to enable it to balance with the existing grid.  

Got a question about the Triangulum project?

If you'd like to know more about the Triangulum project, or want to discuss an energy project in your city or region, contact us via the button.