Science News 04/07/2013

A suite of smart power management capabilities for food production facilities

HAPI has announced a col­lab­o­ra­tion with researchers at the Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­sity of Kosice to develop smart power man­age­ment capa­bil­i­ties for food pro­duc­tion facil­i­ties. The col­lab­o­ra­tion will cre­ate a robust and flex­i­ble frame­work for opti­miz­ing and pro­tect­ing the energy foot­print of such sites.
HAPI founder Tyler Reed stated: “Power man­age­ment is foun­da­tional to what the HAPI project is build­ing. On the food side, there is a huge diver­sity in appli­ances and processes that require elec­tric­ity. Arti­fi­cial light­ing itself can present a sub­stan­tial chal­lenge as far as con­trol and sched­ul­ing are con­cerned. Then there are water pumps, nutri­ent pumps, pH dos­ing pumps, air pumps, com­put­ers and con­trol sys­tems, mon­i­tor­ing equip­ment and more all bring­ing their own unique energy require­ments to the pic­ture. On the power side, energy pro­duc­ers can charge for their prod­uct in var­i­ous ways. Rates can be based on peak usage, time-of-day usage, flat rates, etc. Devel­op­ing a capa­bil­ity that can han­dle this level of com­plex­ity is incred­i­bly impor­tant to us if HAPI is going to be rel­e­vant for large-scale food producers.”

Enter researchers at the Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­sity of Kosice in Slo­va­kia. Mar­tin Pala, an arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence expert at the uni­ver­sity, explained how his team would cre­ate a solu­tion. “This is essen­tially an opti­miza­tion prob­lem. The dif­fer­ent devices in a pro­duc­tion facil­ity all have tim­ing require­ments and energy con­sump­tion lev­els, while the cost and avail­abil­ity of power can vary over time. Our team is using arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence tech­niques such as fuzzy sys­tems and genetic algo­rithms to cre­ate an adap­tive, intel­li­gent power man­age­ment func­tion. The sys­tem will account for alter­na­tive energy approaches as well, where fac­tors like weather, wind and sun­light can impact the avail­abil­ity of energy.”

The power man­age­ment suite is expected to be com­pleted in the third quar­ter of 2013.

di S. C.