Key Elements in Intelligent Buildings

The concept of an ‘Intelligent Building’ encompasses various automation systems for Building Control, Office, Communications, Security and Fire. An IB project generally covers three key elements.

  • Communications Network and Office Automation.
  • Building Management System.
  • Integrated Services Infrastructure.

Communications Network & Office Automation System

The System includes office administration, Property Management, and Business Intelligence Systems that reduce heavy workloads and human error to enhance efficiency, quality and the working environment as a whole. Voice, Data, Video and Multimedia Information Services, such as Video Conferencing, Email and Electronic Data Exchange, are provided via the building’s high-speed backbone network to the benefit of each
office.

Building Management System (BMS)

Building Management System provides automatic monitoring, interaction and management for electricity, ventilation, water supply, security and fire control to the building. BMS manages the following systems: Building
Automation System (BAS) Security Automation System (SAS) & Fire Automation System (FAS):

Building Automation System (BAS)

The Building Automation System centralises the remote monitoring and control of all building facilities – including electricity, lighting, plumbing, ventilation and air-conditioning, water supply and drainage and environmental control systems – at a single control center. Seamless monitoring of all these systems ensures a reliable working or living environment for tenants as well as optimised human resources allocation for the Property Manager.

Security Automation System (SAS)

Security Automation System is critical for providing a secure environment and protecting the safety of tenants. Elements include: Anti-theft Security and Alarm System , Electronic Control System, Access Control System, Closed-Circuit TV Surveillance System.

Fire Automation System (FAS)

The Fire Automation System is supported by independent network and cabling systems to ensure operation continues nonstop, even during an emergency. When linked to the building’s centralised control room, a second level of monitoring is provided; and in case of fire, various systems can interact directly to optimise all necessary building facilities.

ELV Integration

For many years, voice and data systems were cabled separately. Now it is standard practice to use a common platform for both of these systems. Like the Voice and Data Systems of the past, the traditional construction process separately installs each of the BMS disciplines under various divisions of a specification.

This means that multiple cabling systems and pathways are installed during the various stages of construction, which establishes one of the primary reasons for ELV Systems Integration i.e. (Integrated Cabling and pathways instead of individual systems). Also, the BMS vendors have now started to use Data Networking and LAN architectures which allow them to communicate over a Standard Ethernet LAN using the same TCP / IP protocol used by computers.

A Process to Convert Electricity to Natural Gas

The Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES) have come up with a process to convert electricity from wind and other intermittent sources to natural gas or methane.

Dr. Michael Specht of ZSW explains, “Our demonstration system in Stuttgart separates water using surplus renewable energy using electrolysis. The result is hydrogen and oxygen. A chemical reaction of hydrogen with carbon dioxide generates methane – and that is nothing other than natural gas, produced synthetically.”

The researchers and entrepreneurs would like to store surplus electricity – such as from wind power or solar energy as climate-neutral methane and store it in existing natural gas storage facilities and the natural gas network. Solar Fuel Technology, the Austria-based partner company is already successfully operating a demonstration system built in Stuttgart and is moving to setting up the industrial implementation of the process. One big advantage of the technology: it can use the existing natural gas infrastructure for storage and sales.  By 2012, a substantially larger system is planned for launching in the double-digit megawatt range.

ZSW is saying it’s the first time the process of natural gas production combines the technology for hydrogen-electrolysis with methanisation in commercial quantities.

Dr. Michael Sterner of Fraunhofer IWES, who is investigating engineering aspects and energy system analysis of the process notes with the rapid expansion of renewable energies, the need for new storage technologies grows massively, “So far, we converted natural gas into electricity. Now we also think in the opposite direction, and convert electricity into ’real natural’ gas. Surplus wind and solar energy can be stored in this manner. During times of high wind speeds, wind turbines generate more power than is currently needed. This surplus energy is being more frequently reflected at the power exchange market through negative electricity prices.”

Sterner believes in such cases, the new technology could soon keep green electricity “in stock” as natural gas or renewable methane. This should be of special interest for energy utilities and power companies.

Two core motivators drove the research effort.  Specht explains, “Which storage systems offer sufficient capacity for fluctuating renewable energies that depend on the wind and weather? And which storage systems can be integrated into the existing infrastructure the easiest?”

From the German perspective the storage reservoir extent of the natural gas network is vast: It equals more than 200 terawatt hours – enough to satisfy consumption for several months. The total electrical power-generating network has only a capacity of 0.04 terawatt hours. The integration into the infrastructure is simple: The natural gas substitute can be stored like and with conventional natural gas in the supply network, pipelines and storage systems, in order to generate power, drive natural gas cars or fire natural gas heating systems.  Very clever forethought, indeed.

RAG Natural Gas Storage Facility. .

There is substantial logic in the plans. The new technology aims at facilitating the integration of high shares of fluctuating power generation from renewable energies into the energy system. One goal is to structure the delivery of power from wind parks on a scheduled and regular basis. Sterner adds, “The new concept is a game changer and a new significant element for the integration of renewable energies into a sustainable energy system.”  That’s key – integration – will make all the difference for adoption.

Specht says, “In our opinion, this is definitely better than a total loss.”  A total loss looms if, for instance, wind power has to be curtailed or if the power could be sold but the wind isn’t blowing.

How good is it? The efficiency claim of converting power to gas equals more than 60 percent.

The two German research institutes have joined together with the company Solar Fuel Technology of Salzburg to push the new energy conversion technology forward.  Starting in 2012, they intend to launch a system with a capacity of approximately 10 megawatts.

It’s very likely to work in Europe with those incredibly high natural gas prices.  In North America the situation is economically quite different. But will idle wind, transmission costs, and other investments rolled in paint a better picture?  Power companies, wind investors, and consumers need to know.  If anyone has infrastructure and storage for natural gas its North America. Check the Fraunhofer English web page for contact info.

This team may have the best integration of renewable power generation to the economy seen to date.  One just wonders where or how they will get all that CO²?


The original post is created by: New Energy and Fuel

ZigBee Wireless Sensor and Control Network

The First Practical Guide to Advanced Wireless Development with ZigBee Technologies

Supported by more than a hundred companies, the new ZigBee standard enables powerful new wireless applications for safety, security, and control, ranging from smart energy to home automation and medical care to advanced remote control. ZigBee Wireless Sensor and Control Network brings together all the knowledge professionals need to start building effective ZigBee solutions.

The only simple, concise guide to ZigBee architecture, concepts, networking, and applications, this book thoroughly explains the entire ZigBee protocol stack and covers issues ranging from routing to security. It also presents detailed, practical coverage of ZigBee features for home automation, smart energy networking, and consumer electronics.

Topics include

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•  Physical layer: includes frequency bands, data rate, channels, data/management services, transmitter power, and receiver sensitivity

•  MAC layer: data/management services, MAC layer information base, access methods, and frames

•  Network layer: data entities, NIB, device configuration, starting network, addressing, discovery, channel scanning, and more

•  Application support sublayer and application layer: includes profiles, cluster format, attributes, device discovery, and binding

•  ZigBee network security: includes encryption, trust center, security modes, and security management primitives

•  Address assignment and routing techniques

•  Alternative technologies: 6lowpan, WirelessHART, and Z-wave

ZigBee Wireless Sensor and Control Network

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