Design, and implementation of an intelligent water heater control module for feedback demand side management
Thesis (MEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The power supply infrastructure of South Africa has been unable to match the rising demand for electrical power. This has brought to light that there is a need for the existing power generation capacity to be used more effectively. A method of achieving more effective power use is the implementation of demand-side management. In order to achieve this there is a need to both facilitate residential demand side management and to collect data to determine how effective the various management methods were at reducing power consumption. It was determined that uncontrolled water heating formed the greatest percentage of residential power use. It was assumed that greatest per-unit savings could be achieved by addressing the sector of greatest use. Therefore it was decided to design a control unit that would provide monitoring and control of an electric water heater to the user. The unit would be able to implement schedule and temperature set-point control and would also provide the user with the information required needed to encourage more cost effective, and therefore power efficient, in their behaviour. Additionally, the data would be entered into a central database for analysis and centralized control. This unit was then designed, manufactured, tested and installed in several homes. The data received from the operational units was analysed to determine the effectiveness of the unit in accurately monitoring and controlling a domestic water heater. Overall the unit achieved its primary goals. It was able to accurately record usage data and reliably report it both to the users and to the centralized database. The temperature of the hot water cylinders was able to be controlled by means of a feedback control loop. Finally, a noticeable change in behaviour from an established baseline was detected when users were given access to their own usage data. It is recommended that further study be done to verify the behavioural response of users to feedback.
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