ABB touts AI-supported industrial energy consumption management tool


Swiss industrial tech company ABB has partnered with Silicon Valley artificial intelligence (AI) specialist Verdigris Technologies to develop machine-learning algorithms to help businesses avoid peak time energy costs.

Industrial customers can pay immense rates for peak power and many have turned to battery storage to avoid such expense. However, ABB claims to offer an alternative after developing two apps – with help from Verdigris – in its Ability Electrical Distribution Control System.

ABB claims its Energy Forecasting app will give accurate power consumption predictions. Using a neural network, the software can identify patterns in load profiles and also factors in weather forecasts and historical data. In so doing, the system can provide a 24-hour energy consumption forecast for a specific building or circuit, which updates every 15 minutes. That means managers can switch-off non-critical loads and avoid peak charges.

“This innovative digital service makes it easy to take the necessary corrective actions to minimize any peak demand charges,” said Andrea Temporiti, digital leader for ABB’s electrification business. “The precision of the forecasting reduces hedging positions, narrows variability and produces meaningful energy cost savings for commercial and industrial buildings.”

Data filtering

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The other application ABB has added to its Ability software platform is Intelligent Alerts. The developers say the machine learning algorithm helps better identify valuable information in extensive datasets. Where energy management systems for large industrial complexes generate unfiltered datasets, management teams can be daunted by the wall of information.

“Verdigris AI is ten times more effective than traditional energy management methods,” said Thomas Chung, head of product strategy at the company. “Our partnership with ABB enables our AI capabilities to reach a significantly larger ecosystem of ABB users. These energy and asset management tools will cut through the noise to deliver actionable insights, identify real energy savings and make resource allocation more effective.”

The collaboration with Verdigris happened under ABB’s Open Innovation program, which partners the corporation with business incubators, accelerators and start-ups to develop new digital solutions and business models. Through the program, ABB is working with partners on areas ranging from digital energy management services in smart buildings to e-mobility. ABB is planning additional ventures with Verdigris, added the Swiss company.

The use of machine learning to interrogate huge datasets enabled Social Energy to launch a utility in the U.K. a year ago, promising consumers 100% renewable energy supply and electricity bill savings of up to 70%. Social Energy uses Duracell 2.5-15 kWh battery storage systems with AI capabilities. The system ‘learns’ the habits and triggers of household energy consumption and taps into weather, traffic and mobile phone data to make accurate predictions of household loads. Social Energy entered the Australian market three weeks ago.

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