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CSIRO hails “revolutionary” energy efficiency technology with WA start-up

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Fremantle-based energy efficiency start-up Ecocentric Energy is hoping to fast-track commercialisation of its sophisticated electricity metering and management system, after inking a research and licensing deal with the CSIRO.

The six-year deal gives Ecocentric access to the CSIRO’s cognitive metering technology, and commits the two companies to collaborate on further refining Ecocentric’s “Numen” system.

Numen’s “electrical fingerprint” technology works by bringing together a building’s total energy signal, identifying the individual appliances present, and then providing data on how much energy each appliance is using.

Advanced machine learning algorithms are then employed to measure appliance power consumption without them needing to be metered individually.

The idea is to give consumers – and particularly commercial and industrial energy users – a better understanding of their energy use patterns, allowing them to to be smarter about consumption, and even predict faults for pre-emptive maintenance.

Ecocentric co-founder, Paul Lyons, said the agreement paved the way for the commercial roll-out of Numen, with the device – and its potential to slash commercial electricity consumption and costs – already attracting interest from a range of companies, both in Australia and overseas.

“Existing metering-based technologies are designed to support billing, and while some are smarter than others, fundamentally that is their role,” Lyons said.

“Numen has been designed from the ground up for a different purpose – to support end users to become as efficient in using energy as possible. With Numen, the ability to become a net zero user of energy is now real.”

CSIRO Energy Director Karl Rodrigues agrees that the system has significant potential to improve energy intelligence.

“The energy domain is experiencing an increased focus in the megatrend ‘digital immersion’, affecting both domestic and commercial energy consumers,” Rodrigues said.

“Our research is helping drive the next wave of productivity and efficiency in energy consumption.”

According to the International Energy Agency, global investment in energy efficiency increased by 6 per cent to $US221 billion in 2015, and has a great deal more growth potential.  

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