The intelligent tanks combine Internet of Things and sensory technologies to keep track of hot water levels and learn the usage habits of the household.
Centrica is rolling out a new smart hot water tank offer for customers through British Gas in a move to help decarbonise heating.
A partnership, with Oxford University spin-out, Mixergy, will offer customers the opportunity to upgrade their hot water systems with a new intelligent hot water tank that combines Internet of Things (IoT) and sensory technologies.
The partnership with Mixergy, funded by Centrica Innovations, follows the publication of National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios, which suggests that more than 23 million homes will need to install new low-carbon heating solutions by 2050.
Hot water tanks consume as much energy as running a small car but have received little innovation to date. The sensor and IoT technologies keep track of hot water levels in the tank, learning the usage habits of the household. This means water volumes are personalised to heat only what is needed at the right time.
Centrica said that depending on heat source and usage profile, this can reduce heat losses water energy usage by up to 40 per cent a year, saving over 10 per cent on hot water bills each year worth up to £100 per annum.
Centrica has also secured approval from National Grid to include thousands of hot water tanks as part of its 2.5GW-strong virtual power plant, combining the units with the flexibility of industrial consumers and battery projects using its software platform FlexPond.
“We are paving the way for smart tariffs which will reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by storing excess renewable energy on the grid”
Meanwhile, Centrica Business Solutions is working with a variety of other global residential appliance manufacturers to explore opportunities to provide flexibility services to the electricity grid using the company’s demand response technology platform, Flexpond.
“We use our proprietary technology to unlock the power of Mixergy’s tanks in order to provide firm frequency response to the electricity grid,” said Charles Cameron, Centrica’s group director of technology and engineering and Chairman of Centrica Innovations.
“The first batch of 100 hot water tanks, which are now in homes in the UK will, at times of stress, be capable of capturing energy at low market prices on sunny or windy days when there is an abundance of renewables on the network, all whilst maintaining efficiency, cost and comfort for our customers.”
Dr Pete Armstrong of Mixergy said that, with Centrica, it is paving the way for smart tariffs which will reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by storing excess renewable energy on the grid. “At the same time we reduce bills for householders by only heating the amount of hot water they require,” he added.
Centrica Business Solutions is working with a variety of other global residential appliance manufacturers to explore opportunities to provide flexibility services to the electricity grid using Flexpond.
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