We have been struggling is Global warming and pollution for a long time now. The earth’s temperature is rising year by year, and the global temperature is estimated to rise by 3 degrees by 2050. It is a serious concern that must be addressed by each and every person at an achievable scale.
One of the dedicated companies which have been saving our earth with a noble cause is tiko Energy Solutions AG. Since 2012, the company has been building sustainable Smart Grid technology. We had an interview with Sandra Trittin, Co-Founder and CSO, to know the details better.
Q. What is the objective of networking distributed energy resources?
Connecting distributed energy resources delivers different kinds of values. First of all, these resources have the potential to reduce CO2 emissions and support the integration of additional renewable energies into the energy supply when aggregated into Virtual Power Plants. Taking advantage of their capacity and flexibility, grids can be stabilized, wholesale markets optimized, and local microgrids and communities developed. Managing VPPs with machine learning allows tiko to replicate the characteristics of a conventional power plant. Typical assets in tiko’s VPP are residential storage systems, car chargers, solar installations, and heating/cooling systems. It is obvious that an individual asset cannot be controlled so finely that its power consumption follows a dynamic signal by itself, however, aggregating numerous assets into a pool allows dynamic and precise modulation of the total power.
It is important to keep in mind that all these assets are owned by house and apartments owners and tenants, who are interested in using the assets for their intended purposes, such as to produce heat, optimize their self-consumption, etc. Therefore, they need to perceive a clear added value to be convinced to participate in the Virtual Power Plant: tiko’s solutions additional functionalities allow the end-user to further optimize the intended use of the asset, providing monitoring insights, easy to control features, and alarming notifications. People save energy and money and increase their comfort while contributing to the VPP: a win win.
Q. Tell us how the Smart Home Energy Management System is exclusive?
tiko Energy Solutions is the driving force behind Home Energy Management System (HEMS) connected to a Virtual Power Plant (VPP). tiko’s holistic approach with the ability to connect all kind of devices, idependently of their brand, makes us stand out from the competition. The HEMS allows people to control and optimize for example, heat pumps, e-car chargers, PV systems, decentralized heaters, or residential batteries. The solution is fully expandable because clients can connect new devicesas they acquire them. It also allows retrofitting, enabling customers with old devices to enjoy state of the art functionalities.
To top it all off, the HEMS is highly affordable when combined with tiko’s VPP. The engagement of end-customers in the VPP helps not only to stabilize the grid, thereby promoting the integration of renewable energy into the energy supply but also allows the monetization of flexibility for energy services like wholesale markets or balancing group optimisation. This is the basis for innovative and unique business cases. tiko believes that this is a win-win for all which is the key to commercial success and thus higher adoption rates. High adoption rates mean that more people will control the way they consume energy, which in turn will have a positive impact on the climate.
Q. How does the tiko system work?
The tiko system consists of a combination of measurement devices and actuators, as well as software services. tiko offers a fully integrated solution or can be combined with already existing hardware or software elements.
Assets are connected via control devices that measure power consumption and also contain a relay that is used to control the device. Metering and control actions are communicated within the house using power line communication (PLC) to the gateway which transfers the data between the end customer residence and the backend system via mobile connectivity or the local ethernet connection. The backend system collects all information, combines it with additional information such as parameters derived from consumption history and local weather conditions, and individually estimates the state of each connected asset, to decide upon allowed and necessary control actions. The front-end application offers the possibility to end-customers to save energy by putting assets into energy-saving mode, avoiding heating while absent, and letting the software run its optimization after setting the photovoltaic self-consumption parameters. Finally, tiko offers advanced tools and support systems for full end-to-end control, from installation to operations.
What makes the tiko technology outstanding?
Since VPPs are getting more and more common and are often provided by asset providers such as storage manufacturers, the challenge is to include different VPPs into an overall centrally-controlled pool of resources. tiko offers the capability to spread optimized signals across multiple VPPs.
To meet the highest security standards, tiko delivers an end-to-end solution including hardware, software, and integration with existing SCADA systems. But often legacy systems like other hardware or parts of software already exist and have to be integrated. While tiko offers this integration, it can limit the overall performance since capabilities and functions often vary.
Q. Share some of your proud moments of success:
2014: World premiere - Primary frequency control with a distributed residential asset-based VPP
2016: World premiere - Secondary frequency control with a distributed residential asset-based VPP
2016: We win the Energy Management Award at the European Utility Week
2019: The French company ENGIE becomes our new shareholder for the next stage of our expansion into other European and overseas markets.
Q. How can the tiko platform be of great help in connecting multiple electrical devices independently from the supplier?
The Home Energy Management System by tiko allows retrofits. Even customers who might rent an apartment that employs old convectors are able to augment energy efficiency and comfort. This is innovative in itself. This allows to target more customer segments and increase the capacity and value of the VPP and speeds up the amalgamation of renewables in the world’s energy supply. This makes a difference.
The Virtual Power Plant and Energy Management System coalesce to make this solution unique. It leads to the creation of business models with the highest security standards.
About the CSO and Co-Founder
Sandra began her career at a management consultancy working in the areas of process optimization/ restructuring and supply chain management for different companies in the automotive, food processing and telecommunications industry. She joined Swisscom in 2002 reorganizing process and organizational structures to increase process efficiency for the service delivery and network construction. Afterwards she was leading teams in software design/development for the construction of IP based communication services. She joined the strategy team of Swisscom and is now co-founder and CSO of tiko Energy Solutions. Sandra has studied business administration and holds an MBA of the Business Schools of Mannheim, Copenhagen and Warwick.