Dr Alex Mardapittas, CEO at Powerstar, outlines the various smart energy solutions available, such as voltage optimisation and energy storage, and the benefits they can deliver as part of an Industry 4.0 inspired energy strategy


he complex challenges faced by energy and sustainability professionals across

the manufacturing, process and industrial sectors are driving organisations to seek smarter, more effective solutions. Increased efficiency is required to counter soaring energy costs and tighter budgets, while power resilience and the improved management of critical machinery are needed to reduce costly interruptions to daily operations. At the same time, all companies are under increasing Governmental and societal pressure to strive for increased sustainability, resilience and lower carbon emissions when managing their energy profiles. Rising energy costs are of immediate

concern, with prices forecast to increase by up to 50% from 2016 levels as early as 20201

. As energy markets remain

unstable, the high-consuming manufacturing, process and industrial sectors need to implement effective and proven solutions to remain competitive. Such solutions can also help meet another key objective, cutting emissions. With the UK committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 20502

, every organisation

needs to adapt its energy strategy to operate more sustainably.

DEALING WITH DISRUPTION Additionally, ways to deal with unexpected power failures are required, especially for businesses with critical processes, or that operate 24/7, and require a constant supply of electricity. Power interruptions can have a significant financial impact whether through the cost of unforeseen equipment failures, production line disruption, lost product or downtime resulting from personnel having to perform maintenance tasks. The ability to quickly respond to unplanned power disruptions is highly beneficial, especially considering that in 2017, downtime cost UK manufacturers £180bn3

. With the evolution of automation,

connectivity of assets, real-time data and machine learning, under the umbrella of Industry 4.0, organisations are presented with opportunities to make improvements


As energy markets remain unstable, the high- consuming manufacturing, process and industrial sectors need to implement effective and proven solutions to remain competitive

to operations and energy use through the gathering of information and the delivery of insights through online remote monitoring. When such insights are coupled with

proven smart energy solutions, such as voltage optimisation, energy storage and smart distribution transformers, the potential to save costs, ensure power resilience, and reduce emissions is increased.

Dr Alex Mardapittas, CEO at Powerstar

OPTIMISING VOLTAGE SUPPLY Voltage optimisation (VO) can deliver benefits both in isolation and when part of a broader smart energy strategy. The National Grid generally supplies businesses across the UK with voltages that are excessively high, with average power supplied recorded as 242V whilst most electrical equipment is designed to work most effectively at around 220V. Therefore using VO solutions to reduce the incoming voltage to this level leads to a more optimal energy supply which consumes less energy and therefore reduces energy costs and carbon emissions. Today’s advanced energy storage /insight/news/businesses -facing-double-whammy- of-rising-energy-costs/

1 ernment/news/uk- becomes-first-major- economy-to-pass-net-zer o-emissions-law

2 3

ws/Latest- News/ArtMID/6887/Articl eID/13644/Downtime- costs-UK-manufacturers- 163180-billion-a-year

technologies, such as Powerstar’s VIRTUE energy storage solution, enable organisations to develop power resilience by providing full Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) capabilities to avoid power failures. Should a power failure be detected, the UPS capabilities ensure no tangible interruption is experienced by the site by switching to locally stored energy within milliseconds. With site-wide UPS, the system can support all connected loads across an entire facility. To reduce carbon emissions, energy

storage can also be utilised with on-site renewable generation, such as solar (PV), maximising the output of such sources and providing energy flexibility whilst reducing reliance on the electricity grid. An often-overlooked point when seeking


to reduce electricity costs is the efficiency of the site’s distribution transformers. Many large organisations own and operate their own transformers which are crucial high voltage (HV) infrastructure that businesses rely on for the constant supply of electricity. Even when not in use, they are often energised round the clock to ensure the site’s electricity supply is safe and correct. Given the long-lasting nature of

transformers, which can be in the region of 50 years, ageing transformers can start to suffer from losses which means that around 1-3% of savings on electrical consumption could be obtained by replacing with a new transformer, especially a super low loss amorphous core transformer, like that offered with Powerstar’s SO-LO. Additional value can be derived by the

smart capabilities of the SO-LO system which enable the key performance characteristics of the energy asset to be viewed at any time and from anywhere with a secure internet connection.

SIMULTANEOUS DEPLOYMENT Whilst each technology offers its own distinct advantages – be that efficiency, flexibility or power resilience – it is when such solutions are deployed simultaneously or through a scheduled rollout as part of a comprehensive energy strategy that the benefits can be maximised to deliver long-term value. This is because, through the collection of

this data, key analysis can be undertaken on all installed smart energy technologies through the use of a single portal. This allows for informed decisions to be made and further optimisations relating to the site’s energy profile identified as it aims to increase its efficiency over the long-term.



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