Smart cities: IoT water management
The advancement of Industry 4.0, wherein networks of IoT equipment can be linked via cloud and optimised with AI, has unlocked many possibilities.
Not least of these is the developing concept of the ‘smart city’ - an urban space where crucial utilities are made as cost/energy efficient as possible, to the benefit of consumers, the environment and businesses.
However, whilst conserving heat, integrating renewable sources of energy into structures and designing buildings to be as efficient as possible are the obvious signs of this new paradigm, perhaps a lesser considered application for IoT is its effect on water management.
Re-thinking water utilities
Japanese multinational Hitachi considers water conservation to be amongst the primary challenges for urban developers in the modern era.
Citing research by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which states that approximately 50% of the world’s population will live in ‘water-stressed’ areas by 2025, Hitachi is evangelical about the advantages of a ‘smart water’ model.
"Ageing water infrastructures, some of which have been in place for over a hundred years, need to be updated and upgraded with IoT technologies, allowing them to come online and communicate with other parts of the system and city,” said the company.
A network of IoT sensors can collect data in real-time and relay it to an integrated source, where it can then be analysed by AI (artificial intelligence) or machine learning software to identify areas of optimisation potential.
The sensor equipment could also detect faults and leaks in the pipe networks much easier, therefore allowing engineers the opportunity to effect repairs faster; an advantageous solution when current infrastructure loses billions of litres of water per day.
Enabling the change
Additionally, GSMA compiled a report illustrating the reasons for greater IoT integration with water utilities, including the end-to-end technical specifications for how it would be achieved.
The guide breaks down the ‘smart network’ into five categories:
IoT devices: sensors, smart meters, cameras, alarms, etc.
Communication services: telephone and internet networks (note: the arrival of 5G, which is almost 1,000% faster than the best 4G network, will be crucial for optimising IoT and generating real-time data).
IoT services: device management, platform hosting and data acquisition.
Big data & analytics: data insights and predictive analytics.
Enterprise applications: leak detection, network optimisation, quality control and asset management.
Forging this network, which may soon become the standard operating model for all utilities in the rise of smart cities, will be crucial to the future conservation of resources and ensuring that consumers have access to plentiful, affordable utilities.
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Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.