The Concept Behind Renewable Energy 4.0
The emergence of renewable energy technologies has given the world a solution on how the balance of energy consumption, population growth, crop & animal production, industrial manufacturing, and technological advancement, to name a few, can be all achieved without exacerbating the environment crisis.
All technologies and trends on renewable energies cannot work in silos and must be fundamentally supported by concepts from Industry 4.0. Only when the big data has been fully monitored and comprehended that energy generation can become more optimised. Every bit of data counts, and every energy saving initiative adds up towards the net zero goal in decarbonisation.
With the help of the digital technology, whatever was invisible previously becomes evidently visible, allowing end-users to understand their infrastructure and systems completely. Examples such as smart control & monitoring in every connection are enablers to track how the energy is being generated and utilised simultaneously. Companies must step up to optimise and deploy renewable energy ingeniously, systematically, and efficiently.
For a wind turbine, the world had moved on from the good old days when a similar contraption, the windmill, was used to pump water or grind grain. The wind turbine is capable of capturing the energy of the wind with its propeller-like blades, causing the rotor to spin.
The gearbox that houses gears will convert the slow rotation of the turning blades to a higher speed motion that results in the drive shaft powering the turbine generator.
Naturally, monitoring systems are also present within the wind turbine. One of the basic functions is to monitor the wind speed through the anemometers and wind vanes typically installed at the nacelle. If the wind gets too strong or turbulent, the braking system will be triggered, either mechanically or electrically, to slow down the speed of the rotor for safety reasons. Sensors can also be deployed at critical areas within the wind turbine to keep track of important information to allow data analytics to be recorded, and condition monitoring to take place.
Remote monitoring is also technically possible with the installation of the right components within the control panel. All of these are critical to keep the wind turbine infrastructure optimised in its many years of operation.
One of the common configurations in the industry now is either a solar or wind generating facility coupled with energy storage solutions to provide stability to the power grid. This ensures that the energy now will be harnessed with greater security to manage power demand during peak usage periods, regardless of whether the sun is shining, or the wind is blowing.
A lithium-based ESS is not purely a battery that stores and discharges electric power. There are numerous systems within the ESS that serve functions such as safety, optimisation, and smart monitoring.
A battery management system is most commonly found within the ESS, for which its functions are to monitor statuses such as current, voltage and energy, identifies anomalies at lithium cell level and triggers in-built protection mechanisms if required, and allows remote management of the entire system over Ethernet connections.
A fire protection system maintains a basic monitoring of detecting temperature increases within the ESS. Alarms will be triggered together with the necessary fire extinguishing measures in cases of fires breaking out from possible overcurrent or short circuit scenarios.
A stand-alone HVAC monitoring system may also be present to ensure that the battery ESS is running at the optimised cooler temperatures, with the internal air conditioners.
Renewable Energy 4.0 keeps the battery ESS running to deliver the electricity when demand needs it most.
Solar panels are not connected purely to the grid with only a transformer that converts DC to AC. To manage the efficiency of the energy harnessing, an energy management system is typically within the radius of an installed solar panel base.
This system is capable of consolidating important information such as amount of DC current generated across 24 hours, consumption of electricity from the grid, temperature and humidity.
More advanced features are possible, with grid support, energy forecasting and even analysis reporting from a solar PV module level, string level to a system level.
Connections using Ethernet or fibre-optic technology are widely used.
Learning from the COVID days to ensure such a facility continues to function without much human intervention on-site, some of the energy monitoring systems even allow the end-users to gain access to critical real-time data on their mobile devices and conduct remote troubleshooting.
Similar concepts in Industry 4.0, such as machine learning, data analytics and predictive maintenance have been cleverly conceived into the renewable energy sector.
LAPP Powers the World, From the Inside
Over the years, LAPP has never stopped innovating.
With each new technological advancement, as with the Renewable Energy 4.0 concept, LAPP is right there behind it.
We may not be visible, but our system solutions can be found everywhere across industries, including the renewable energy sector.