The internet of things promises companies a way to monitor valuable equipment and machinery. But when deployed in remote or hostile locations it poses a challenge. How can you continually power the sensors that communicate mission-critical data on the condition and performance of isolated assets that are beyond the reach of the electricity grid? Batteries often provide the answer, of course, but replacing them raises logistical problems, particularly at sites such as offshore wind farms or weather monitoring stations, where the task would be difficult, costly and potentially risky. Jerry Luo at Cranfield University in the UK is among the scientists and engineers who believe the answer lies in energy harvesting -- the harnessing of small amounts of local energy that would otherwise be lost.
On October 1st, Agoria launched its latest digital course on Energy & AI. I joined the discussion about the role of AI in Energy applications. For those who missed it, here's a quick recap. Electricity systems are responsible for about a quarter of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions each year. The urgent need to create a more sustainable way of producing electricity pushes the demand for low-carbon electricity high on the agenda.
Illustration: IoT For All A North Sea structure lost its main turbine housing last year, prompting engineers to determine that all 206 units of this size in the sea might need to be examined and refitted. The North Sea is the most violent wind and current area to have giant turbine farms in trouble, but other regions are having maintenance problems as well. North Sea wind farms are fighting some striking battles, and they aren't about sea life. They began with the breakdown of Germany's biggest turbine-bearing structures after 15 weeks; predictive maintenance had planned for the structure to last 15 months . The result was a disastrous maintenance bill and a re-engineering of the giant blades that appear to be the culprit: they literally shook the turbine to death.
According to the goals of Europe's green deal missions, the continent strives for becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Since buildings are a major contributor to the overall consumption of energy, improving their energy efficiency can be a key to a more sustainable and greener Europe. On the way towards zero-emission buildings, several challenges have to be met: In modern energy systems, several energy sources have to be orchestrated to maintain a high security of supply, to guarantee a healthy environment for the building users, and both by using a minimum of conventional energy. Further, the modern building also hosts the electric filling station for one or several electric vehicles, requiring a significant amount of electrical power. Since the components of the building energy systems are integrating more and more sensors and embedded systems, buildings are becoming networked cyber-physical energy systems -- especially larger objects like airports, shopping malls or office buildings.