In the previous part 11, Smart Mobility: Electronics technology applied to smart mobility with low impact to the environment, Part 11, of this blog series there is a description of the project called “South Australia’s virtual power plant” whose goal is to create a net of connected energy users that can use and introduce electric energy into the system by means of a set of solar panels provided by the Tesla Company. These panels are integrated into the homes; their task is to convert daylight into electrical power and to store this energy in order to feed the house itself and, in the case that the energy supplied is enough to satisfy the demand of the users, to introduce this energy into the Utility power network (see Figure 1):
“Tesla’s proposed 250 MW/650 MWh virtual power plant using rooftop solar and Tesla Powerwall 2 units in South Australia is pushing through. In a speech at the Australian Energy Storage Energy Conference, Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan stated that the government would support Tesla’s proposed large-scale renewable energy project. Tesla’s proposed virtual power plant in South Australia is expected to involve 50,000 low-income and social housing units, all of which would be fitted with 5 kW solar panels and a 13.5 kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 battery storage unit. Together, the 50,000-strong, 250 MW/650 MWh system is expected to provide grid stability by shifting demand away from a stressed grid during peak hours, much like the company’s 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack farm near Jamestown. ” (Source: TESLARATI)
“South Australia’s virtual power plant” (Source: YouTube)
Furthermore, some large companies, operating in the electronics sector such as in the case of the STMicroelectronics Company, are investing on bike-sharing programs, including solar panels to recharge the electronics ICs integrated into the bike to guarantee an effective geolocation of the bikes by means of a GPS localization net and to protect the bikes from theft by means of smart integrated circuits (see Figure 2):
“Early systems offered free bikes and — if the bikes could avoid confiscation by the authorities, as in Amsterdam — often fell victim to urban “magicians,” who could make the bikes disappear without a trace. One solution, docking systems, work reasonably well. And, networked to IT systems, the docking systems enable subscription-based service. These systems require that users get — and return — their bikes at defined locations. This inconvenience, which can be big or small, depending on how far from your start and end points the docking stations are, is driving extraordinary innovation. Like most everything else joining the Internet of Things (IoT), the latest systems are jumping on in the smartest cities to replace the docking stations with smartphone apps that can locate available bikes left where the last user finished their ride….The bikes also include a range of technologies to thwart urban magicians. While there are several approaches to preventing bike theft, they all incorporate a range of ICs. These include 32-bit MCUs to coordinate and manage processing, Bluetooth SoCs (Systems on Chips) and Near Field Communications (NFC) Tags for identification and communication, and MEMS (MicroElectro-Mechanical Systems) to detect tampering. Together these components allow a user to lock and leave the bike at the end of their ride for the next user. Solar panels and associated electronics to optimize the energy produced, thin-film batteries to store it, and motor drivers for automated bike locks could easily be added.” (Source: blog.st.com)
Electronics technology is the key for the success of the bike-sharing system. Do you think this system is consistent with the smart city approach?