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CSIRO using fingerprint ID to save energy

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CSIRO has announced a partnership with start-up company Ecocentric, on a system that recognises the electrical ‘fingerprint’ of individual appliances to increase energy efficiency in buildings.

Under a licencing and research agreement, CSIRO and Ecocentric will further develop the ‘Numen’ energy system.

Numen brings together a building’s total energy signal, identifies the appliances present, and then separates out appliance-specific consumption data on how much energy the appliance is using.

Developed collaboratively using CSIRO algorithms, Numen improves the processes involved in using and conserving energy in homes, commercial buildings and industrial facilities.

Where conventional smart meter systems record low-resolution total energy use (generally for the purpose of billing), CSIRO-developed ‘cognitive metering’ technology identifies individual appliances using a unique signature of high-frequency electrical data.

Advanced machine learning algorithms are then employed to measure appliance power consumption without them needing to be metered individually.

Numen uses cloud-based technology to monitor energy consumption in real time, allowing unprecedented insights into the operation of critical machinery.

The system will allow automatic identification of metered electrical devices, facilitate better understanding and prediction of energy use patterns, and predict faults for pre-emptive maintenance.

This information will highlight opportunities for more efficient energy use, resulting in cost savings and a reduced carbon footprint.

CSIRO energy director Karl Rodrigues said the system has significant potential to improve energy intelligence.

“The energy domain is experiencing an increased focus in the megatrend ‘digital immersion’, affecting both domestic and commercial energy consumers,” said Rodrigues.

“Our research is helping drive the next wave of productivity and efficiency in energy consumption.”

Ecocentric CEO Tim Bray is excited by Numen’s commercial prospects, as well as its potential to lower energy use in the built environment.

“Numen will be a part of Australia’s contribution to a more energy efficient future,” said Bray.

“There is no waste in nature, that’s a human phenomenon.”

Under the agreement, Ecocentric will obtain a licence from CSIRO to the cognitive metering technology and work with CSIRO for a period of six years to further refine the system.

A key focus of CSIRO’s energy research is the development of intelligent systems, including decision support and management tools that reduce energy consumption of Australia’s buildings through improved understanding of energy flows.

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