Congratulations to the 5 Dynamic Demand Challenge Finalists!

Published: Tue 19 Nov 2013
A blog entry by Isobel Chillman

Contributed by:

Isobel Chillman
Programme Delivery Manager

Isobel Chillman's Blog

Nesta and Engerati are thrilled to announce the five Finalists of the Dynamic Demand Challenge!
by Jennifer Clayton, Prize Coordinator, Nesta Centre for Challenge Prizes
On 18th and 19th October we brought together 9 Semi Finalists, hosted at Imperial College, London, to Hack their ideas into more developed, robust prototypes. At the end of a very long yet exciting 36 hour stint, the Semi Finalists pitched their ideas to a panel of Judges, where five ideas were chosen to go on to the next stage of the Challenge. You can see the full group of Semi Finalists here
Five Finalists
Community substation challenges
This idea provides communities with simple, low-cost, radio-connected 'fridge magnet' energy displays. Using these displays the network operator can run 'substation challenges' that signal local grid conditions and reward the community collectively for manually responding to those conditions.
Demand Shaper 
To gain universal acceptance, a dynamic demand scheme must influence electricity use rather than directly control it. We all have times when we need an appliance to run now! This idea combines a "smart home" technology that can influence demand while responding to user needs and a signalling protocol that interacts with electricity retailers and Distribution Network Operators (DNOs). This system allows aggregate demand to be shaped taking account of the interests of consumers, retailers and DNOs so that best use is made both of renewable energy generation and the capacity of distribution networks. 
The Powervault device has been created to allow households with solar panels to store the excess electricity generated on their rooftop during the day and allow them to use it when they actually needed it. By shifting a proportion of the self-generated electricity to a time where owners want to use it, the Powervault device allows them to use more of their own, green power. Plugging the device into a convenient socket and linking electricity usage sensors to existing WiFi takes around 10minutes. Future generations of the device will be capable of remote dispatch by utilities to reduce peak demand.
Of the total 314 TWh of electricity consumed in the UK in 2011 (excluding transport), 33% was consumed as heating. We propose to utilise this consumption to shift the electricity demand with the help of Thermal Accumulator developed by thEnergy.
Thermal Accumulator is a hardware that transforms buildings into dynamic sources of Energy. Energy Storage will change the way we see buildings from energy sinks to active and intelligent energy managers. It will lead to the emergence of Buildings as Grid Players, able to react to spot pricing, reducing electricity use, saving energy and generating income from balancing the Grid.
Many small businesses use an UPS (interruptible power supply) to run computers and related equipment.  In essence, the computers are powered by a high-capacity battery which is constantly recharged from the grid.  UPS are generally quite smart devices, e.g. they can recognise that grid power has failed and signal the attached computers to shut down gracefully before the battery is drained.  Thus it would be feasible to extend UPS’ capabilities such that they cease taking power from the grid when it is under high load and/or using non-renewable generation capacity, and then recharge at times of lower demand.
…The Finalists now go on to develop their ideas over a 6 month period with £10,000 funding from Nesta and ongoing support from National Physical Laboratory scientists and business advice from a select group of experts, facilitated by Climate KIC and Imperial College, London
Blog posts from the Finalists as well as update interviews will be a featured on the Dynamic Demand website and throughout the next 6 months, so stay tuned for personal updates from the contestants.
For now, watch a short film about the Hackathon, a truly jam packed and exciting event! A HUGE thanks to all that joined us for all or part of the Hackathon, it was an intense 36 hours – phew!