How to make heating plants intelligent

e.dis and othermo pilots in Branderburg

28. November 2019 Branderburg

Less than a year ago, Dennis Metz, CEO of othermo has joined the :agile accelerator – just months after winning the Startup Challenge of E.DIS. In less than a year, his startup did not manage to expand their business Germany-wide, but also set their first pilot with e.distherm.

othermo offers a solution to monitor, analyze and optimize the operation of heating plants and decentralized energy systems. Their control strategy takes into account the local demand and generation from renewable resources in order to identify and implement the most economic and ecologic way to operate the heating plant.

The founding idea behind othermo was based on the PhD thesis of Dennis Metz, who looked into dispatch strategies for distributed energy systems. He found out that there is significant optimization potential, when decentral power plants are operated in a forward-looking manner. However, despite the economic saving potential and interest in the market, initial evaluation showed that the market might just not yet be ready for Dennis´ forward-looking idea: most medium-scaled heating plants lacked the required connectivity, available optimization data was insufficient and existing subsidy-schemes were providing additional hurdles. Feedback from the market spun othermo business case and draw their focus towards creating connectivity for decentral energy systems and providing transparency over the operations across manufacturer sand technologies.

Currently othermo serves a number of companies across Germany. “We install a gateway in the heating plant, which connects to all the components using the communication interface,” explains Dennis Metz. “If a problem arises, our clients get informed by an e-mail or SMS. Through a web-based platform, they can then monitor the operations, remote control the set points and analyze the historical operations to identify inefficiencies and operational problems. Our platform allows them to reduce cost and improve the security of supply. In addition, instead of spending countless hours looking for problems and commuting to the heating plants, their engineers have more time to focus on their actual work.”

Since mid of this year, othermo works with e.distherm on a joint pilot project. Together they digitize a heating plant in Brandenburg, that consists of a cogeneration-unit as well as three boilers providing heat to a district heating network. “We connected multiple peripheral components, such as pumps and gas, electricity, heat and water meters. Based on the LoRaWAN technology, we also added some of the meters installed in the supplied buildings,” Dennis says.

In a second stage of the pilot, othermo implemented a control system for the heating plant and more efficient control strategy for the pump. By controlling the pumps based on the supply situation at the last supplied client, the electric demand of the pumps was reduced by up to 50%. At the same time, the security of supply was increased during peak times. With othermo solution, e.distherm gained a holistic overview over the operations in the heating plant and the supply situation in the heating network, which enabled them to identify inefficiencies and problems.

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