Test lab takes on the Internet of Things

December 06, 2018 // By Nick Flaherty
Europe’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has opened a Smart Grid Interoperability Laboratory to boost the performance of the smart home and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The lab at Petten in the Netherlands will help to ensure that new smart technologies are able to meet the potential of the technology as houses are fast becoming smart homes, with smart thermostats, domestic appliances and security systems activated by apps on smartphones.

As smart homes growing into smart communities and smart cities, virtual power plants connect up sustainable energy systems and electric cars behave as intelligent batteries with homes producing energy as well as consuming it. In order to achieve an intelligent digital ecosystem, all systems need to be able to communicate with each other and need to be interoperable. This will need to be facilitated and supported by dedicated policy, standardisation and technical instruments.

So the JRC Smart Grid Interoperability Laboratory will test the interoperability of smart technologies, both coming from the market and resulting from research projects from across its six centres in five countries (Brussels, Geel, Ispra, Karlsruhe, Petten, Seville) and over 1000 collaborating organisations. It will test devices, appliances and components for energy use, energy storage and the systems connecting them and help to develop a common testing methodology so that customers can be sure that when the products they are buying meet interoperability standards.

It has already demonstrated testing of technology that is designed to predict electrical load over time for representative regions (such as energy use at different times of the day for 100 houses in a neighbourhood), as well as testing that smart home batteries and connected electric vehicles are able to communicate effectively with the smart grid, both as a source of energy and to be able to draw energy from the grid as necessary.

The lab will also test blockchain technologies designed to track energy use and production of smart homes within a smart grid, tracking what homes are using and producing and seamlessly managing transactions between residents and energy companies.

The JRC will also contribute to the implementation of EU policies aiming at the clean energy transition and the digitalisation


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