Intel, Glen Dimplex combine in game-changing energy project
'Smart' heaters that harness wave, wind power could slash bills by 40pc
Intel and Glen Dimplex are involved in a major brainstorming team-up to pioneer energy-saving inventions that can slash bills by over 40 per cent.
Some of the innovations are only two years away from becoming part of every household's standard kit. One is a type of smart electric heater being developed with Glen Dimplex, a global maker of consumer electronic goods, that can charge up on wind or wave energy sources when available and actually store that electricity until it's needed.
"Storing renewable energy until it's needed is what everyone is working for," said Martin Curley, vice-president and director of Intel Labs Europe.
"The charging cost is reduced by 44 per cent," said Mr Curley.
"Electricity is very expensive, but using electrical heating can be cheap if you have an environmentally friendly renewable energy source.
"It's better for the environment and the consumer and cheaper – it's win-win. Wave energy is going to be a very significant advantage in the future for Ireland."
Also collaborating on the project are ESB networks, Eirgrid and Airtricity-owner SSE. "This is a unique collaboration between indigenous and multinationals," said Mr Curley.
The project also has significant jobs-generation potential, he said. The developments aim to create "the world's smartest energy grid, taking advantage of renewable energy in Ireland and creating a unique set of products that can be marketed worldwide," said Mr Curley. "We're at an early stage of that journey but we have a unique collaboration going on."
A device is being developed using what's called 'ambient intelligence' that understands and anticipates a household's energy needs and creates efficiencies that massively drive down bills.
It predicts peoples' behaviour so that heating and electricity operates in sync with a user's particular needs, timing your heating or your oven or immersion, as well as managing heating from room to room to match your habits.
Intel and the other collaborators have 'living labs' in Dublin where they can pilot unique energy-saving inventions and create large-scale products.
"At the moment, the technology is being tested on a dozen homes. The next stage would be to demonstrate it in thousands of homes on a large scale. We then need to stress test in many more homes.
"We are about two years away from products that would be in peoples' homes. We have a reasonably aggressive road map."
Another project is the smart schedule of electricity for electric cars to cut their power usage, predicting with 90 per cent accuracy what journey will be taken and putting a charging plan so that the lowest possible electricity rate is used on the journey.