Oxford University academics launch smart metering company


Malcolm McCulloch,
Department of
Engineering, Oxford
Oxford, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — December 9, 2008 – A new company, Intelligent Sustainable Energy (ISE), has been formed by University of Oxford academics to develop smart metering technology.

ISE, a spin-out from the University’s technology transfer company, Isis Innovation, has received funding of £1 million from Navetas Energy Management to develop the technology.

ISE’s technology has been developed by Malcolm McCulloch and Jim Donaldson from Oxford’s Department of Engineering. It is aimed at monitoring the consumption of individual appliances in real time and delivering the data in a form most suited to the individual consumer such as to a PC or mobile, or via itemized electricity bills.

“The technology is designed to identify both short and long-term energy savings, by providing information about specific appliances in a building,” explains McCulloch. “For instance, if the amount of electricity your washing machine uses increases considerably, this might indicate that it will be more cost effective and carbon efficient to replace it. If there’s a spike in the amount used by the fridge, maybe the door has been left open.”

Jim Donaldson, CTO and co-founder of ISE, says the ISE smart meter is smarter than your average smart meter. “It can identify different appliances – including hardwired appliances like cookers or hot water heaters – from their electricity use profiles, and feed that information back to the consumer,” says Donaldson, adding: “The aim is to give people the ability to gain control of their energy use, by measuring how changes in the way they use appliances can reduce their energy consumption on a day-to-day basis.”

A prototype ISE smart meter has been successfully tested at Oxford. The company plans to undertake further trials and refine the design to industrialize smart metering products and to offer licenses where appropriate to commercial partners in key territories. It anticipates that ISE intelligent smart meter technology will be on the market by 2010.

Navetas is itself a new company, having been established by two ex-Actaris executives, Chris Saunders and Chris Shelley, just last month. With funding from its venture capital partners Navetas was looking to fund investments and acquisitions, particularly in the area of smart metering technology. In addition to its investment in the ISE technology Navetas will also provide the project with commercial expertise in the field of energy management and smart metering.