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Monitor first, then act

IoT platform monitors the operating status of CHP plants

CHP plant operators can use the mondas IoT platform to detect critical operating states at a glance. (Copyright: mondas)

Enerquinn Energiesystemtechnik has been planning, constructing and operating combined heat and power (CHP) units for more than ten years. Just seven service personnel are responsible for maintaining over 1,000 units, which is challenging in terms of both planning and logistics. To minimize operating costs and optimize the deployment of service personnel, the company from the southern German town of Weingarten uses state-of-the-art IoT technology. It monitors its decentralized CHP units, also known as cogeneration systems, using a web interface with the mondas system platform.

This is a powerful web tool designed to collect and analyze operating data from a large number of similar energy and production plants. In addition to monitoring plants remotely, the system can also be used to manage building commissioning quickly and cost-effectively. The software was developed by the Freiburg-based Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, and mondas GmbH was founded last year to market it.

The start-up has tailored the product to enerquinn’s requirements. The CHP plant operator can use the analytical software to identify remotely from its service center whether the plants are running efficiently or are in a critical operating state. The software monitors system parameters and collects readings sent by the CHP unit to the system platform via the internet and analyzes the time series data in the background. This takes place almost in real time and regardless of whether just one CHP plant or hundreds are connected to the platform. New units can be integrated into the system in just a few minutes.

Digital health check for CHP plants

How does mondas detect the condition of a plant? In the same way as a physician determines a patient’s risk of heart attack from their blood pressure and blood test results, the platform uses AI algorithms to analyze the plant data and detect any malfunctions as they develop. “For example, if a CHP plant starts up more than a certain number of times in one day – in other words, if the plant is rapidly cycling on and off – this may reduce its energy efficiency by up to 25%,” says Christian Neumann, drawing on his own experience as a planner. Neumann, who manages the company together with Christian Reetz, goes on to explain that it is always important to detect and resolve faults early before they cause expensive outages. He says that conventional remote monitoring systems cannot cope with tasks like this because they generally only enable a snapshot view of a plant in a particular situation.

Besides performing analyses, the new platform also gives specific instructions when action needs to be taken. According to Neumann, this is especially beneficial for older plants approaching the end of their useful technical life. “These plants generally require a disproportionate level of maintenance and servicing,” he says, adding that predictive maintenance pays off in these cases in particular.

Since the platform automatically identifies necessary maintenance and service tasks, enerquinn’s managing director Stefan Oexle expects his company’s maintenance and servicing costs to fall significantly. In addition, the technology is allowing enerquinn to provide a better level of service to its customers, for example in terms of billing. The mondas system can also be used to monitor other HVAC equipment, such as chillers and air conditioning units, ventilators and compressed air systems.

For more information, please visit: mondas

mondas is exhibiting at the joint booth for start-ups at The smarter E 2019. Visit the company at booth C4.570D.
Enerquinn is exhibiting as well - at the cogeneration joint booth C4.460C.

Are you a start-up? More information about the joint booth is available here.