Our team is a passionate group of students driven by the empowering knowledge of data usage for building real world applications. With the current state of technology, we think that the Energy Business is on the brink of a large scale revolution. Our goal, when we decided to choose the GE Energy Connection Challenge, was to try to conceive and implement a solution which could educate consumers, producers and distributors in order to reduce the waste of energy on the grid.
What it does
Our solution integrates the Intel Edison hardware, directly linked with the Seeed Grove Interface. On this interface, we coupled an array of peripherals (light, temperature and g-meter sensors, as well as a button and and LCD screen) which send data to the Predix Cloud through Wifi. The number of Intel Edisons to be used is extremely adaptable. Connected to the power grid, they are able to capture a localized and detailed picture of the power conditions of a house, a building, or a factory.
In the Predix interface, we also created an access to the dataset given to us at the start of this hackathon, concerning the power usage of a single house in France.
Both of those data feeds are available to us in the Predix Cloud. This allows for new possibilities :
Our solution allows for a smarter Power Grid. We are favoring creating and consuming energy on a local scale. This favors the process of islanding. This reduced the power peaks, and helps users dispatch their consumption at times where it would have less of an impact on the grid. We keep in mind that a kW produced by a factory costs 70 to 170 times more than to "save" a kW from the grid (Source : GE hackathon data documentation).
Our solution aims also to educate on different scales (Locals, Residentials, Factories Workers and their Hierarchy) Create a circle of virtue by comparing the performances of each entities, with incentives at the end (lower price of energy for the best performers). This ultimately leads to a hopefully large ecological and financial impact.
Challenges we ran into
We ran into multiple (!) challenges. We could say that the only part which went to plan was the installation of the Intel Edison, and it's connection to Predix. Other than that, we ran into some challenges almost all along the way. Let's go through a couple of them.
Most of the modules of data ingestion were not functioning, instead of using the web sockets which make data ingestion easy, we had to go through a manual input of data. Considering the 200000 lines, times 6 of the files, the browser would not accept copy and paste of that large amount of characters, it wasn't easy.
For example, in order to input the data, which contains a data stamp, we were supposed to use a library, which only worked for computers configured in the US data and time. This meant it wasn't working at all on our machines. With the help of expert coder "Tom", we changed the library source code, but to no success, even after long, long hours.
Another problem was that the documentation expressed that in order to use the analytics component, we used the Analytics UI, but it is really difficult to configure the access rights for the users, and decided to use the API panel into the toolkit, which we are still trying to bring to function right now.
For the UI, we decided to use Predix-Seed in order to build a good user interface. Accessing the data stored in the Predix Cloud from our backend was a much harder task than we though... But we managed it \o/
In the last hour, our UAA created a server error (500) which stopped us from building fully functional Predictions.
Accomplishments our team is proud of
Our team has managed to create a successful coordination between our individual skills. We were constantly listening to the needs of our team members which allowed us to resolve our problems much more efficiently.
As well, using the Predix platform was interesting. Because it is still in development, the challenges we faced meant we had to get creative. This is something that will happen in our lives as Engineers, and this hackathon was a great training for it.
What we learned
We learnt an entreprise grade interface, the challenges associated with it, how to work with professionals on a very short deadline with friendly competition and pressure from other teams.
What's next for EnerGE
We really enjoyed those two days. The organisation was great, and the help of the experts was hugely appreciated. We have a couple of hackathon already planned ahead, but would really consider continuing working with Predix, and the GE Foundry.
Thank you for this event !