Develop and commercialize a comprehensive range of solutions to enable industrial facilities to continuously improve their energy efficiency.
As the EU Energy Efficiency Directive of 2012 has made its way into EU member states’ laws and regulations, industrial companies have, to an increasing extent, begun to audit the energy efficiency of their facilities. InFrance, around 10,000 companies are potentially concerned by the energy audits required by the Directive. At the same time, utility rates have recently been deregulated, freeing customers of all kinds to shop around for the best utility contract. Energy audits play an important role, providing insights that can result in energy savings of up to 30% over time, depending on the company’s line of business. For industrial buildings, the potential savings can exceed 50%. But you can’t manage what you can’t measure. So, companies have to start by finding out where their energy budget is going. The metering solutions currently available on the market do not provide detailed enough information; or, if they do, the initial investment is cost-prohibitive for the vast majority of businesses. The problems are only multiplied for complex or multi-site industrial facilities. And for companies seeking ISO 50001 energy management certification, a solution capable of securing long-term efficiency gains is crucial. The purpose of the Opsine 2 project was to address the needs of this huge market by making it easier to implement more efficient energy management strategies. The resulting product, which would include equipment, methods, and services, would offer a very rapid return on investment.
The project began with an audit of an existing solution. Following several development cycles at an NTN SNR test site, a prototype was completed. The first software module—which imports and processes data from the Enedis energy meters to generate energy consumption forecasts and optimize utility contracts—was delivered within the first year.
The next stage focused on consumption modelling algorithms, which were developed by project partners Automatique & Industrie, ProbaYes, and Liris. Accurate consumption models are crucial to effective ISO 50001 energy management; the models provide the baseline consumption data used to compare actual energy performance.
One of the project’s major wins was slashing metering costs fourfold; this was accomplished by reducing the number of sensors required. The solution was tested successfully and duplicated at a second industrial test site near Grenoble. Currently, around 20 industrial facilities have implemented CACTUSes.
Project partner Automatique & Industrie has a new product, CACTUSes, that will give the company a clear competitive advantage on the metering-plan market, particularly for customers seeking ISO 50001 certification. Customers perceive the smart-data-oriented software suite as both practical and easy to use. Thanks to powerful algorithms, software implementation is straightforward, even for smaller businesses, and regardless of industry. From mechanical engineering and metalwork to rubber and plastic, CACTUSes is flexible enough to handle the needs of a wide range of industries. A second version of the CACTUSes software suite is currently under development. It will offer expanded features to help reduce multi-fluid consumption through enhanced metering-plan capabilities. The new release will leverage developments made under the TIDEME project, which won an Initiative PME call for projects. TIDEME is focusing on improving the quality of data collected, generating energy indicators, and facilitating the implementation of predictive capabilities.
Early sales of the solution have been encouraging; contracts have been signed with several corporate customers. As the solution is scaled up, Automatique & Industrie will set up support teams and hosting. The company already has around ten employees assigned to R&D for the solution; a number that is likely to rise through new hires in the future. Automatique & Industrie also plans to build a new website and ramp up its social media and press relations activities to promote the new product. And, in 2017, the company will begin working on its international sales strategy with GREX (the export division of the Grenoble Chamber
of Commerce), targeting countries like Switzerland and Italy. Overall, Automatique & Industrie expects CACTUSes to generate several hundred thousand euros in additional revenue in the medium term.