Kongsberg Digital enters new Kognitwin Grid development project

Source: press release, 16 March 2022

The Blue Battery Project aims to balance the electricity grid by using stored thermal energy from water heaters, thereby avoiding peak load usage
The Blue Battery Project aims to balance the electricity grid by using stored thermal energy from water heaters, thereby avoiding peak load usage (illustration: KDI)

Kongsberg Digital (KDI), OSO Hotwater and Saint John Energy will collaborate on a joint research project with the aim to reduce energy peak load and consequently reducing GHG emissions. By using Kongsberg Digital’s Digital Twin software Kognitwin, the project will identify future capacity requirements on the energy grid in the city of Saint John, Canada.

Electrification of the world’s power systems is key to enabling the energy transition and more sustainable energy consumption and operations. With increased use of electricity as a source for growing global consumption, however, the load on grids all over the world is under pressure. In the past, building new grids to handle maximum capacity has been the norm, but with digital twin solutions it is possible to balance and reduce energy peak load instead of continuously expanding physical grids.

The Blue Battery Project, initiated by OSO Hotwater and co-sponsored by Innovation Norway, aims to balance the electricity grid by using stored thermal energy from water heaters, thereby avoiding peak load usage. By balancing out the energy consumption in peak load hours, the need for covering excess energy demand with non-renewable electricity production will be reduced. For the project, OSO will deliver water heaters with integrated water heater controllers to select households in the city of Saint John. Data from the participating households will be collected and the Kognitwin Grid algorithm will learn the consumption pattern to identify future capacity requirements and other impacts on the grid. The end-to end solution will provide a seamless customer experience and ensure high security and powerful grid management tools for the utility.

“We are very excited to use our digital twin technology to enable more sustainable grid operations. Using stored thermal energy from water heaters to balance out peak loads on the grid has been theorised for many years, and now we are putting it into effect. The learnings from this project will not only be valuable for other grid companies worldwide, but it is also a crucial step towards enabling electrification and the energy transition,” says Lasse Jamt, Vice President Renewables & Utilities, Kongsberg Digital.

OSO will provide water heaters and water heater controllers (IoT’s) for the project, which will be deployed and integrated into the Saint John Energy electricity grid. Kongsberg Digital will provide its grid simulation software to forecast, model, test and identify bottlenecks in the grid, to assess when the energy load should be moved towards thermal heat energy. The Project will enable the utility to predict usage peaks in order to lower costs since Saint John Energy, like other utilities, pays a high price for peak demand. This foundation, in combination with OSO’s IoT Controller and the Project’s secure software developments, will make an integrated product with great potential for solving many of the challenges in the electricity grids world-wide.

“At Saint John Energy, we’re passionate about innovating. Forging this partnership with innovation leaders in Norway, a country aggressively combatting climate change, is a tremendous opportunity to advance grid technology and consumer products designed for a sustainable future – not only for our community but around the globe,” says Ryan Mitchell, President and CEO of Saint John Energy.