All manufacturers are aware of the advantages they can get from technology. Still, many of them are in the very early stages of the digital revolution, so they don’t fully understand how Industry 4.0 will impact their niche.
The fourth industrial revolution goes beyond mechanization, mass production, and computer automation. It’s about cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and cyber-physical systems. It will impact energy systems of all types. The smart factories of the future will have cyber-physical systems that observe physical processes. They will collaborate and communicate with each other through the IoT. The Tesla factory is a nice example of how that works in practice. Although it still needs human workers, technology enhances all processes in the production chain.
This is what interests us: what’s the fourth revolution energy impact?
Energy efficiency is a core element of Industry 4.0
The quest for green energy consumption is more important than ever. All industries are trying to find ways to produce more effectively without causing further damage to the planet. Future manufacturers are being educated on clean energy sources, so it’s no wonder why their demand to buy college papers on such topics is higher by the day.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization issued a report in 2017: Accelerating Clean Energy through Industry 4.0. From today’s point of view, it’s clear that we have a long way to go. By 2014, 78% of the entire energy consumption on the planet was driven by fossil fuels. But the growth rates are significant, especially for solar photovoltaics, which achieved a growth rate of 46.2% since 1990.
By involving Industry 4.0 in the sustainable energy industry, we get smart energy networks that avoid the development of new path dependency. The technology will enable decentralization, with energy coming from local solar photovoltaic or wind systems. This means that the users will be able to manage and control their energy use.
Virtual power plants change people’s approach to energy use
When several renewable resources come together, we see the real proof that thanks to the industrial revolution, energy usage is being radically changed. A virtual power plant connects medium-scale, decentralized units that produce power. These can be flexible power consumers and storage systems, as well as solar parks, wind farms, and CHP units. Tesla’s virtual power plant in South Australia is a nice example of theory that works in practice.
This type of system works through a cloud-based center, which controls IoT devices in the units. Peter Asmus, expert on new energy models, identified the combination of VPPs and transactive energy as a compelling vision of the future. In his report, VPP Transactive Revenue Streams, he identified six points that could be improved by combining these VPP with TE:
- Real-time response to demand
- Localized clean energy
- Virtual capacity
- Big data from small sources
- Small voltage control
- Fast frequency regulation
Blockchain gets into the picture
We all know that blockchain technology is related to cryptocurrencies. What does it have to do with energy?
The first connection is that blockchain tech consumes incredible amounts of electricity, so it contributes towards global warming. But when we consider the bigger picture beyond mining cryptocurrencies, it’s evident that the blockchain technology can be put to better use.
In the Swiss town Walenstadt, the residents of a neighborhood participate in a solar power trading market powered by blockchain.
Thanks to this technology, micro-suppliers can easily receive payments when they contribute to a network. With blockchain, the decentralization of the energy industry is easier than ever. There’s also an opportunity for bigger producers to trade energy with each other.
Manufacturing is becoming more sustainable
First and foremost, we’ll see more transparency in the patterns of energy consumption among big manufacturers. With smart apps in the production process, companies can measure the exact levels of energy they use. Cyber-physical systems can stabilize the energy flow by reducing consumption or storing energy on demand.
Currently, not many manufacturers provide data on their overall energy efficiency. With digital technologies, they can measure the gains when they introduce new robot systems, and the public will get factual insights into the production process.
Immediate reaction to changes in energy quality is a good example of how manufacturers can enhance their energy efficiency. Sensors that detect voltage imbalances and trigger changes in the system will prevent damage to the equipment.
Manufacturers are massive users of electricity. When they become more sustainable, they make great contributions to a cleaner planet. In addition, the public benefits by the drop of electricity prices.
Energy use is getting more intelligent
The SIDRIVE IQ, digital drive system by Siemens, makes the production process more sustainable, but more intelligent at the same time. Manufacturers get relevant data from all motors and converters, so they can evaluate their efficiency. The device delivers cloud-based data analytics, which enables the manufacturer to identify and improve affected drive system performance. Data about the machine vibration degree, for example, helps the engineers detect flaws in the systems.
Energy use is getting more intelligent, sustainable, efficient, and transparent. The fourth industrial revolution is about to bring more changes in the future. Our planet is ready for that progress. comment