November 25, 2015

Finnish innovation enables home appliances to avoid electricity demand peaks

A smart freezer developed at the Lappeenranta University of Technology avoids electricity demand peaks.
A smart freezer developed at the Lappeenranta University of Technology avoids electricity demand peaks.
Istock.com/huePhotography

A smart freezer has been created at the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) as a demo device that monitors the hourly prices in the Nordic electricity exchange and seeks to avoid the day’s most expensive prices.

The device only operates when electricity is cheap, provided that the freezer’s temperature allows this.

The concept operates using a computer that can be installed in an ordinary shop-bought chest freezer. It controls the freezer’s operations by, for example, measuring temperatures and adjusting the freezer’s operating hours. The freezer also features an Internet connection and an energy meter that measures how much energy the freezer consumes. Thanks to the computer, the freezer’s operations can be altered as needed.

According to Research Assistant Kimmo Huoman from LUT, the main goal of the development work is to demonstrate how smart appliances can be used in the future to balance and maintain the frequency of the electricity supply system.

Huoman explains that smart technology that monitors hourly prices can be applied to any types of electrical equipment that accumulate energy. For example, a house’s heating system, hot water accumulators and cooling systems would benefit from a similar type of control, creating sizable savings.

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