Mitsubishi tests heat pump-enabled demand response

Mitsubishi tests heat pump-enabled demand response
Image courtesy 123rf

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has started a demonstration experiment on the Irish Aran Island to evaluate the effectiveness of heat pump control for demand response, enabled through the company’s HVAC cloud service.

The testing, which is being run by Mitsubishi’s European subsidiary Mitsubishi Electric R&D Centre Europe B.V., forms part of the REACT project, a Horizon 2020 co-funded project to demonstrate energy independence for remote islands.

The project will use heat pump systems deployed at the Aran Islands as well as the Italian San Pietro Island to test how the clean tech, known for its energy efficiency and suitability as a boiler replacement, in a demand response environment, alleviating potential grid strain.

REACT is an Innovation Action project involving 22 partners including companies and academic institutions from 11 EU countries.

In a press release on the announcement, Mitsubishi states how the project will demonstrate a community-centric approach to energy management for remote islands using distributed renewable energy generation and storage tech with demand response to balance power supply and demand.

The project aims to achieve energy savings of 10%, a 60% reduction in greenhouse gases, and a 50% increase in the use of renewable energy, compared to a baseline operation case before the application of the REACT solution.

REACT project overview. Image courtesy Mitsubsihi.

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A breakdown of the project is as follows:

1) Utilising the cloud to achieve demand response control of heat pumps

  • The Mitsubishi Electric heat pump systems installed at the demonstration sites will be linked with the REACT demand response platform via the company’s ‘MELCloud’ service for HVAC (High Voltage Alternating Current) systems in Europe.
  • Through the MELCloud link, each heat pump will send operating status information such as temperatures and energy consumption. Based on this information, theyou REACT platform will decide optimal demand response control actions automatically, and each heat pump will receive and execute these actions via the cloud.
  • Based on the information sent from the heat pumps and other smart devices, the system notifies each user via smartphone or tablet with information about home energy usage, electricity price, renewable energy availability, etc., and provides recommended manual actions to improve energy efficiency and save money.

2) Demonstration in various buildings, including houses and public facilities

  • At the Irish Aran Islands site, a total of 6 heat pumps for domestic hot water and space heating are installed in three residential buildings and two public facilities including a childcare facility and a local community office space.
  • At the Italian San Pietro Island site, a total of 17 heat pumps for air conditioning and one heat pump for domestic hot water heating are installed in six residential buildings and two public facilities, including a public library and a sports facility.
  • Through these demonstrations in various types of buildings, Mitsubishi Electric will analyse data from the heat pumps and other equipment to verify the effectiveness of the demand response control.
Demonstration diagram. Image courtesy Mitsubishi.

From now until the project ends in June 2023, Mitsubishi Electric will conduct demonstration experiments to collect data and verify the effectiveness of demand response.

After the completion of the demonstration project, the company will use the key results obtained to promote further decarbonisation R&D, namely into energy-saving air conditioning and water heating equipment through cloud solutions.