Published on 25-Aug-2010
Validated on 05 Nov 2012
"To survive as a smaller company in a competitive industry, we have to be more flexible and competitive. This IBM and GridManager solution gets us there and we look forward to even more savings and efficiency." - Erik Dyeremose, Owner, Gramo A/S
Selected Business Solution (sBS), Business-to-Business, Green/Sustainability, Linux, Openness, Smarter Planet
IBM Business Partner:
Denmark is under the control of an energy exchange market, says Mogens Birkelund, CEO of GridManager. This market is a system where producers and traders find energy prices for each hour the day before and is a simple exchange market where demand and product settles on a price. GridManager automatically learns those prices and then wirelessly makes energy-saving decisions for Gramo automatically. Basically it controls the distribution of power and maximizes usage.
As one of the last remaining independent book binderies in Denmark, Gramo A/S needed to maintain its competitive edge by tightly controlling its operating costs. As an environmentally conscious company, it wanted to more effectively control and manage its energy usage, as well as reduce its CO2 output. The new solution would have to be user friendly and provide the company with an in-depth understanding of how to properly manage its energy consumption.
New solution from IBM Business Partner GridManager develops automatic wireless monitoring system that manages electricity usage in peak and off-peak hours throughout daily operating cycles.
Minimizes energy costs by using the solution to automatically trade off between time-of-use pricing signals and energy demand using a real-time wireless system that connects device level sensors, the GridManager system and utilities. Fully integrates a plug-and-play portal for energy efficiency, demand response, load shifting and grid balancing—creating a virtual power plant. Gramo has realized a 10 percent savings in energy costs and reduction of CO2 emissions.
To read a Danish version of this case study, please click here.
As one of the last remaining independent book binderies in Denmark, Gramo A/S, based in Jutland, needed to maintain its competitive edge by tightly controlling its operating costs. After an economic downturn when the company had to reduce its workforce by almost 50 percent and cut its workshifts from three to one, the company looked for ways cut operating costs. As an environmentally conscious company, it wanted to more effectively control and manage its energy usage, as well as reduce its CO2 output. The new solution would need to be user friendly, and provide the company with an in-depth understanding of how to properly manage its energy consumption.
To achieve its goals, Gramo turned to IBM Business Partner GridManager A/S, a young company in Viborg that provides energy-saving and grid balancing solutions for companies of all sizes in all industries throughout Denmark. GridManager’s solution provides its clients with a fully integrated, plug-and-play portal for energy efficiency, automatic demand response, load shifting and grid balancing: In other words it creates a smart, virtual power plant for its customers.
GridManager’s solution adeptly provides actual and forecasted energy prices, enabling Gramo to leverage price-managed consumption and utilize low price periods of time while avoiding high cost periods. It also provides advanced tools for controlling the company’s equipment, improving consumption behaviors and extending greater management capabilities.
“Denmark is under the control of an energy exchange market, operating for the entire region of Scandinavia,” says Mogens Birkelund, CEO of GridManager. “This market is a system where producers and traders find energy prices for each hour the day before and is a simple exchange market where demand and product settles on a price. GridManager automatically learns those prices and then wirelessly makes energy-saving decisions for Gramo automatically. Basically it controls the distribution of power and maximizes usage.
“GridManager is a modular system so Gramo, which became the first company to use our new solution, is taking an incremental approach to implementing it,” says Birkelund, “Among its initial efforts, the company is using our system to monitor usage of its biggest energy-consuming equipment in its three industrial facilities, such as its heat pump and oil burner as well as the variable usage peaks of electricity. The system then automatically cycles between the heat pump and the burner to provide the greatest efficiency and lowest cost."
How the system works for Gramo
Gramo also uses the system to manage recharging batteries in its many forklifts. When the staff leaves in the afternoon, they plug the forklifts into charging stations. Again, the system monitors usage and electricity pricing to ensure charging takes place when the cost is lowest and the forklifts are ready when the morning shift arrives. The same approach is used to manage hot water boilers. The system also permits Gramo to monitor and manage compressor use, preventing them from running during periods of high cost. As an additional benefit, the system has established base consumption levels, which enable the company to identify “leaks” in the system.
“And Gramo is now monitoring the energy costs of its IT infrastructure, allowing the company to analyze potential savings from outsourcing," says Birkelund. GridManager is provided as a hosted Web solution, built on IBM WebSphere® Application Server software and using IBM DB2® software as the database. To effectively manage the database, the solution also uses IBM DB2 Administration Tool for z/OS®. The architecture and implementation have been supported by IBM and are scalable to national system levels.
Gramo looking to extend benefits
“This is just the first phase of a rollout plan that we believe will make us even more efficient and allow for even more savings,” says Erik Dyeremose, Gramo’s owner. “After just six months of implementation of GridManager technology, Gramo is already saving 10% on its monthly energy bill and in reduction of CO2 emissions. And we expect a return on our investment in less than a year. The new solution provides an intuitive yet comprehensive view of the company’s energy consumption, and equips us with the tools we need to manage energy usage and limit CO2 output.”
Both Gramo and GridManager have been recognized for the innovative solution and for contributing to reducing energy consumption. The solution was demonstrated recently to representatives of the Danish energy industry, including Teknologisk, the National Danish Technology Institute, and Energinet.dk, the Danish ISO and Grid owner.
Easy-to-use energy management tools
The GridManager energy-saving solution provides simple-to-use energy management tools that enable customers to reduce and/or shift power consumption. It incorporates modular z-wave-enabled monitoring sensors, a wireless network agent and a user-friendly interactive Web portal, where electricity consumption profiles can be easily analyzed and controlled.
By enabling real-time wireless communication between device level sensors, the GridManager system and utilities, customers can minimize energy costs by responding to time-of-use pricing signals, demand response initiatives or other customizable variables. Moreover, this real-time consumption management can be actively managed or fully automated, while maintaining complete functionality and dependability for customers.
Says Birkelund, “Gramo is a small company but our GridManager solution is also being used by several other larger companies in Denmark, many with multiple locations and operating facilities. It has application in companies in the chemical, petroleum, manufacturing and agriculture industries. We have expectations that they will achieve the same kinds of results and benefits that Gramo has attained.
“Governments all over the world, including Denmark, are setting ambitious goals to reduce energy costs and increase renewable energy. GridManager is proud to provide products to our customers so that we can all do our part to help.”
Dyeremose of Gramo agrees. “To survive as a smaller company in a competitive industry, we have to be more flexible and competitive. This IBM and GridManager solution gets us there and we look forward to even more savings and efficiency.”
GridManager is one of 15 companies worldwide honored by The Clean Technology and Sustainable Industries Organization (CTSI). CTSI, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a non-profit group whose mission is to advance the commercialization and global adoption of clean technologies. It presents its International Utility Technology Challenge awards for innovation in a variety of clean tech areas, including smart grid applications, transportation, building efficiencies, pollution monitoring and cyber security. GridManager and the other companies will be recognized at the Clean Technology 2010 Conference and Expo in Anaheim, CA in June 2010.