Moving Toward Next-Generation Smart Houses! Experimental Equipment Installed in Smart Cells in the Yokohama Smart Community Energy System and Wireless Monitoring System

Moving Toward Next-Generation Smart Houses! Experimental Equipment Installed in Smart Cells in the Yokohama Smart Community Energy System and Wireless Monitoring System

4/26/2013

Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd.

President/Statutory Representative Director: Tsuneo Murata

Overview

Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. has installed energy system experimental equipment and a wireless monitoring system targeting next-generation smart houses in smart cells*1 constructed by the Yokohama Smart Community*2 in tvk Housing Plaza Yokohama and commenced verification experiments from April 26.

About the energy system for next-generation smart houses (experimental equipment)

Energy System for Next-Generation Smart Houses

Energy System for Next-Generation Smart Houses

Background to development

Recent electricity shortages and the rising cost of fossil fuels have resulted in a burgeoning demand for the development of energy systems that provide increased stability and efficiency. In response to this demand, Murata Manufacturing has started verification experiments on a next-generation (autonomous cooperation) energy system with the use of the world's first model-based development*3 method based on the next-generation smart house concept being advocated by the Yokohama Smart Community.

This is being carried out in a joint development project with dSPACE Japan (Head office: Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo; President: Hitoshi Arima) , involved in the provision of the model-based development method and equipment, and Smart Energy Laboratory (Head office: Sunto-gun, Shizuoka; President: Soichiro Nakamura) , which provides a consultation service for energy system concepts, system configurations and control models, etc.

Configuration of the Energy System Targeting Next-Generation Smart Houses

Integrating combinations of two-way DC/DC converters and two-way DC-AC converters, solar power batteries, storage batteries, grid power and other elements into a single system has enabled the creation of bi-directional energy control, adaptability and monitoring. This makes it possible for each form of electricity to receive direct instructions on which household appliances to assign power, etc., which allows energy to be controlled. This provides control for systems based on "Creating, Storing and Using Energy Wisely" that smart houses require, and enables energy to be used efficiently while providing visibility.

Electrical Specifications

  • Rated output: 3kW (power grid connection and autonomous operations)
  • Two input channels (two solar battery channels, or one solar battery channel + one fuel cell or other input channel)
  • Storage batteries: 2kWh

Functions

  • Autonomous operations during power cuts, and support of power grid assistance for reducing consumption during peak periods and peak period shifts, etc.
  • An intelligent energy system that can flexibly support all types of scenarios (future system changes also being considered) .
  • In addition to visibility over household power consumption and solar battery generation capacities, the use of cloud data is also being investigated (weather reports, electricity predictions, etc.)
Figure: House with an Energy System for Next-Generation Smart Houses (conceptual)

Figure: House with an Energy System for Next-Generation Smart Houses (conceptual)

Future Expansion

Through the course of the verification experiment we will acquire an understanding of energy system reliability evaluations and customer requirements, as well as run surveys on the levels of performance and reliability required by energy systems and the modules and electronic components contained within equipment. We are also scheduled to examine the technological development and new product development required for future energy markets.

About Wireless Monitoring Systems

Background to development

Development is currently moving ahead with HEMS, BEMS and similar types of energy management systems. These are systems that manage the operation of equipment and facilities installed in buildings in order to reduce energy consumption. Providing visibility over energy consumption has been the main target of HEMS/BEMS up until now, but in the future they will be integrated into sensor networks to detect whether people are in rooms or not, whether the doors and windows are open or closed and other factors to automatically conserve energy consumption by supplying electricity where it is needed and diverting it away from where is isn't for the purpose of providing comfort while simultaneously saving energy. We are currently forging ahead with the development of photovoltaic devices under the assumption that they can be used as the power sources for the nodes involved in the sensor networks.

Configuration of Wireless Monitoring Systems

The photovoltaic devices that we are currently developing will convert the light energy within a room to electrical energy. Using these as the power sources for the monitoring system's sensor nodes will enable nodes to be manufactured that do not require batteries. The data accumulated with the sensors will be transmitted wirelessly, which means that they can be easily installed without the use of cables.

We are currently involved in improving the long-term reliability of the photovoltaic devices as part of the development project in order to enable the production of maintenance-free sensor nodes.

Photovoltaic device specifications

  • Power Generation Capacity: 150uW (2001x under LED lighting when tested by Murata)
  • Size: 91 x 55 x 0.3mm; Weight: 2g

Future Expansion

In addition to evaluating the stability of the sensors and data receiving/sending with the use of energy obtained from photovoltaic devices in rooms that are close to actual environments, this verification experiment will also survey customer requirements and examine the levels of performance and reliability required for the electronic parts used in sensor network systems. We also plan to investigate the development of technologies and new products needed for future energy harvesting markets.

Terminology

*1 Smart Cell: A project to build a model house in which the organization's participating members can carry out verification experiments based on the principles of the Yokohama Smart Community, as well as using them as forums for publicizing the concepts and results of these experiments to domestic and international communities. This house represent the vehicles for carrying out research and experiments into community models based on food, healthcare and energy that does not place a burden on the natural environment, as well as circulatory societal systems that nurture natural environments, the arts and culture so that people can lead healthy lives. In order to achieve this, the companies and organizations that support the Yokohama Smart Community provide construction materials and equipment, etc. to construct a model house that provide a link to the future.
*2 Yokohama Smart Community: Established on June 14, 2011 (Representative: Hitoshi Arima) . An organization active in targeting communities in quest of lifestyles using energies that place no burden on the environment. Companies and organizations sympathetic and in full agreement with this principle gathered together to start the activities, and it currently consists of 76 companies, five research organizations and six advisors. Aiming at the creation of safe and prosperous communities, it is our belief that the society that we really crave should involve lifestyles in which we are able to coexist with nature and use forms of energy that do not place a burden on the environment to ensure that people can live rich lives, instead of just solving technical problems. We are convinced that the wise use of natural energy will enable us to create inexpensive and flexible energy systems that will help reduce CO2 emissions and solve such issues as food shortages, etc.
*3 Model-based Development: A method in which development is carried out while checking the operations of software, etc. via the medium of simulations that are used in electronic control development equipment for aircraft and automobiles. Utilizing this in the development of household energy system development within the project contributes to improving system quality and shortening development periods.

Murata in Brief

Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and sale of ceramic-based passive electronic components & solutions, communication modules and power supply modules. Murata is committed to the development of advanced electronic materials and leading edge, multi-functional, high-density modules. The company has employees and manufacturing facilities throughout the world. For more information, visit Murata's website at www.murata.com