With the surge of smart city solutions and initiatives, cleaner, smart energy demands become more apparent. ESILV students specialise in developing greener and more sustainable energy alternatives through project-based, collaborative work.
Smart city development is a flourishing market and innovative energy technologies are part of a broader transition to self-reliant and sustainable homes, communities and cities.
At ESILV, each year, engineering students partner with companies and institutions to solve real-world problems by developing smart solutions in renewable energies to address complex urban challenges.
The fourth-year industrial innovation projects allow students to test their engineering knowledge in a real-world setting prior to graduation. This week, we look at a selection of three engineering projects focusing on green energy efficiency in urban areas and economic zones.
Logistics management for the conventional natural gas market
Naturgy France is a natural gas supplier, which delivers mostly to professionals. Our project is to attribute score to their customers on two distinct aspects: Energy Efficiency and Billing. We divided the team into pairs to treat each half of the project.
The first step for both sub-project is to fetch data from different sources, mainly APIs and the partner’s own MSSQL database. Then we gather and clean it.
For the Energy Efficiency part, we directly view their database and extract it as an Excel file to work from home. From the selected features, we created different indicators that give information about a customer’s energy consumption efficiency.
Finally, we made a program that directly creates a PDF file with some graphs and information that gives clues about energy efficiency. These files are made to be used by the marketing sector of the partner. For the Billing sub-project, the data is fetched from APIs but not treated.
Smart cities : Pedestrian-oriented night lightning
We live in a world where the population is more and more concentrated in cities. We expect that in 2050, 7 out of 10 persons will live in a city.
Today, these cities consume 75% of the global energy production and are at the origin of 80% of the global CO2 emissions. One thing is obvious: cities must change, and this is where our project leads us.
In partnership with Orange, we will create an intelligent city model by incorporating the vast connectivity sector.
The reduction in energy consumption due to public lighting has been studied for about ten years. It represents more than six terawatt-hours per year or about 700 million euros each year for communities.
Street lamps are a source of wasted energy and money, but also light pollution. The latter has a significant impact on biodiversity: in particular birds, their metabolism and migration, but also on the well-being of humans (we need natural light during the day and darkness at night, for our digestion, our metabolism, our sleep, etc.).
Night lighting has increased by 94% in France in 25 years, according to ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency). “All public lighting means 89% more light points in France over the last 25 years”.
The first victims are migratory birds completely disoriented by these light sources. But other animals, including ourselves, are also affected, as artificial light disrupts the biological cycle. This form of pollution does not spare the plant kingdom either. Indeed, there is a 60% drop in pollination and a 13% drop in fruit production due to light pollution.
That’s why we have chosen to work on intelligent street lamps which could detect pedestrians on the sidewalk (and eventually cars on the road).
We implemented an electrical circuit using sensors and connectivity to recover the wanted data and handle them the way we wanted.
We also added a weather station on the street lamps and a function of predictive maintenance, allowing citizens to make the services aware that they have to fix the defective street lamps.
Smart, mobile, modular energy systems
To answer this need, we developed with a start-up company O’Sol, a new modular and decentralized electrical network, allowing us to link the traditional electrical grid and the billions of mobile devices.
This project allowed us to work on the electrical and electronic designs while taking care of PICO’s modular and reconfigurable nature (design, selection, sourcing and prototyping of batteries, connectors and microcontrollers).
At the end of the day, what future for our project? The goal is to optimize PICO to commercialize it at the beginning of spring 2020.