U.K. university engineers develop advanced smart meter


Swansea, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — October 3, 2008 – A team of engineers at Swansea University in Wales has developed what is claimed to be one of the world’s most advanced smart electricity meters.

And the team, from the Electronic Systems Design Centre in the University’s School of Engineering, has implemented a demonstration version of the meter with a solar panel setup to provide nearly 1.5 MWh per year of “green electricity” to the University, helping to reduce its carbon footprint.

The focal point of the Swansea smart meter is its information display, which provides not only traditional power consumption information, but also “user friendly” information in the form of animated graphics of money on the meter’s large, clear screen.

The meter also goes one step further, in that it monitors individual power circuits in the home, including upstairs and downstairs lighting, and kitchen sockets. With further development, it should be possible to monitor individual appliances.

This presentation of consumption information is complemented by the ability to show power generated from micro-generation technologies, such as a wind turbine or solar panels, in a “plug and play” manner – the aim being to provide a simple, easy to set up system for users with no power electronics expertise.

The meter also has communication abilities, allowing the readings of power consumption and generation to be instantly available to the supplier and to the consumer via web pages, wireless in-home displays, or potentially even a television channel.

Richard Lewis, one of the researchers on the Swansea smart meter team, said the team is currently looking to create a fully functional prototype from the current demonstration unit and plans to begin residential trials within the next 18 months.

“The time for complacency is over! Swansea University, through its team and initiatives, is leading the effort in making energy awareness a top priority and is working to provide the tools to do it.”

The project is being supported by the Welsh Assembly Government Knowledge Exploitation Fund.