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Effective geyser management through intelligent hot water usage profiling
Catherine, Quinton Shaun
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This study presents an intelligent Hot Water Cylinder (HWC) usage profiling system to provide peak demand side management and improve HWC efficiency in a typical household. In this research HWCs will be referred to as geysers. Research was done into various techniques available to improve energy efficiency in South Africa, as well as the different sectors South Africa's electricity supplier, Eskom, has highlighted where improvements in energy efficiency can be made. From this it was decided to refine the scope of the project to the residential sector, and more importantly geyser. A typical geysers operation and power consumption was researched and analysed to determine where efficiency improvements could be made. A system was required that would reduce the amount of energy consumed by the geyser, and provide the consumer with hot water at the same time. Based on the research it was decided to design a profile based geyser controller. The profiling system comprised of a PIC microcontroller, four digital temperature sensors and a time keeper used to determine individually based hot water usage profiles for the home. The profile was based on three parameters, namely the frequency (repetitiveness) of hot water being drawn, the length of the draw period, and the time of day when the water was drawn. Once the profile had reached a 90% accuracy, the profile implemented itself. Based on the profile, the controller then regulated the temperature of the geyser according to the demand of the household, without manual intervention. If the household's routine were changed, the profile would adapt itself accordingly. The controller is therefore fully intelligent and continues to refine the profile on a day to day basis. By introducing the profile based controller, the monthly average geyser temperature was reduced, reducing the amount of standing losses, which in torn reduced the total amount of energy consumed by the geyser. The profile controller was designed to aid in the reduction of the energy demand of geysers on the power grid. This will benefit both the consumer as well as Eskom, as Eskom will have a reduced power load, and the consumer will have a reduced electricity bill. The results of the experiments are shown, as well as a comparison between calculated versus measured results, to justify the accuracy of the calculations.