The USER Project

Trialling smart hubs in homes to help us use energy more efficiently

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The Trial / The Smart Hub / The Future

Today’s grid has been designed & built for yesterday’s energy system. Over the next 10 years, as we transition towards a decentralised, lower carbon energy system we expect that over 50% of our electricity will come from intermittent renewable sources. These are sources which sometimes produce too much energy, and other times not enough. The Ubiquitous Storage Empowering Response (USER) project pursues to enable this transition from a customer-centric view, by making hot water cylinders smarter by using our Smart Hub.

By smarter we do not mean to imply that we will simply follow the output of a renewable source, or be triggered according to a time-of-use tariff, we mean truly smarter. Our systems are proactively optimised & context-aware. They coordinate with other consumers, support the grid & operate in energy markets together, by not only considering economics but also efficiency & environmental impact, so we can reduce your air pollution & carbon footprint in an efficient way. We even ensure that they are clean from bacteria by running sterilisation routines, when conditions are the most favourable.

Hence, we are demonstrating all these by creating a virtual power plant with 350 homes, all different & all collaborating to deliver commercial-scale energy services. This is only possible by means of the AI-based cloud optimisation service that Levelise has been fine-tuning & refining for the past 8 years, which currently operates the first domestic-only virtual power plant in UK.

The Smart Hub has been developed to be operated in an autonomous way which includes fairness policies, so that there are no winners & losers amongst those who participate. It anonymises all of your data, so that you are secure. Finally, it requires no human intervention, so hot water is always available when you need it, in the amount you require, without affecting your lifestyle.

Typically, domestic prosumers have rooftop solar & Li-ion batteries, but we want to extend opportunity to others, starting with hot water cylinders as these are ubiquitous, no matter if these are coupled to a gas boiler or are electrically heated. To do so, Levelise & Baxi are adding sensors, controls & gateway to your hot water cylinder to securely connect to Levelise AI solution. This allows us to infer the state of your tank, automatically learn from your patterns and exploit the consumption diversity of all the 350 hot water cylinders by proactively operating them real-time. All according to the carbon mix, energy markets and grid status. By doing so, we can achieve our targets by increasing the usage of renewables and maintaining the grid resilience.

By participating in this trial, you can help us to democratise the energy system, so you are at the centre & you will be making a tangible change without affecting your lifestyle.

We are changing things so you do not have to.