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No. 2 (April 2016) Special Issue on NEC's Smart Energy Solutions Led by ICT

Vol.10 No.2 (April, 2016)

NEC boasts the unique position of possessing both ICT ranging from computer to cloud technologies and Energy Component Technology including energy storage systems and quick charging devices for electric vehicles. By combining these and other various assets, NEC is contributing to the optimization of energy supply and demand through the promotion of local production for local consumption of electrical power, the management of fluctuations in generated power volume and the development of new services. This special issue will introduce the reader to our solutions, services and technology that are paving the way for the Smart Energy society – solutions for general users and enterprises as well as end-user solutions for the customers of energy industry and utility companies.


Special Issue on NEC's Smart Energy Solutions Led by ICT

KUNIO Takemitsu


ABE Yasushi

NEC’s fusion and orchestration of ICT and energy technologies are paving the way for the optimization of the supply and demand of energy in the society of tomorrow. Moreover, our technologies are contributing to both energy savings and a more comfortable life.


Solution for general customers

TAKAHASHI Ryo, SUETSUGU Takeshi

Interest in the Home Energy Management System (HEMS) has been growing as a technology for enabling energy supply-and-demand stabilization and greenhouse gas effect reduction. As a result of this trend, there is an increasing number of home appliances are implemented compatible with HEMS. NEC has been providing HEMS with visualization function and now is developing HEMS with enhanced capable of controlling household appliances. It is intended to link them to meteorological information as a future approach. This paper reports on our past achievements regarding HEMS application, its features and anticipated perspectives.


ICHIEN Masumi, OGAWA Masatsugu

One of the means through which the transition to a sustainable low-carbon society is expected to be realized is the smart grid, which facilitates more efficient and stable energy use. Achieving this goal will require technology capable of effectively controlling multiple geographically separated systems. This technology also needs to be able to cope with any sudden environmental change. At NEC, we have been working on a control method for use in real world applications which utilizes autonomous adaptive control based on the biological adaptive mechanism to the environment. In this particular application, we are seeking to establish an energy management system (EMS) that doesn’t force users to consciously make efforts to save energy; instead, we have applied this technology to the power control on the demand side and employed flexible equipment control as required. Tests have shown that our home energy management system (HEMS) can autonomously control the power to achieve intended target values by adjusting lighting and air-conditioning in response to environmental fluctuations.


HIRANO Takahisa, KOYAMA Toshimitsu, YASUDA Toru
SHIGEMATSU Daisuke, KONDO Yasuaki

Use of both the electric vehicle (EV) and the plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHV) is expected to increase as clean vehicles become more desirable. However, in order to sustain the expected growth in the market the preparation of suitable charging infrastructures will be an essential requirement. Deployment of EV charging infrastructure services in a commercial context and a reduced labor input by business operators will be required to effectively operate the systems after installation. To deal with this issue, NEC has developed an EV charging infrastructure system that is equipped with remote operation & maintenance/energy control, member authentication and E-money payment functions so that the business operators can install and operate it efficiently and securely. The system also provides cloud-based services for the EV/PHV users, such as a charging station map and a charging completion mailing function. In the future, NEC is also planning to study the application of cloud-based services for other environment-friendly vehicles, such as the fuel cell vehicle (FCV).


HATAKEYAMA Kenichi, SATO Takashi, NOGUCHI Masayuki
KIMURA Hidekazu

NEC has commercialized a 7.8 kWh model of a household/corporate-oriented compact energy storage system incorporating a lithium ion battery with a 15-year warranty. Moreover, due to its integrated construction it features a short installation work period. According to an analysis of the usage data of previous models, the present model is given a storage capacity of 7.8 kWh, which is optimum for home use. It has a rated output of 3.0 kW under normal operation. It stores the low-priced power during nighttime or surplus power of photovoltaic generation, and then it uses them in daytime. Such features allow users to achieve further power and cost savings and to enjoy comfortable everyday life. The system is also capable of running various home appliances in the case of a power outage.


TOCHIHARA Isao, MARUOKA Kazunori, KOMIYA Yoshihiro
SUZUKI Shin, TAMURA Hiroaki, UENO Hiroaki

NEC Energy Devices has developed a lightweight, long-life lithium-ion secondary battery pack suitable for use in power supply systems of communications equipment installed in areas that experience power supply difficulties. The battery pack features a high level of safety and long life due to the manganese cathode material and stacked electrode structure. These are implemented by making full use of our experience in the development/production of lithium-ion secondary battery (LIB) with laminated exteriors for use in electric vehicles (EVs) and large power storage devices, the battery management system (BMS) and the battery pack structure design and the control software. This paper introduces a 19-inch rack mountable 48 V battery pack developed based on the above technologies for use in the power supply systems of communications equipment.


Solutions for enterprises

KITAMURA Mitsuhiro, YAMANAKA Yuya, IGUCHI Mamoru
ORITA Kazuhisa, SHIMADA Takashi, NAKASE Shunsuke

Year after year, unit prices of electricity in Japan have been going up, increasing the burden on ratepayers. To help electricity consumers manage their consumption and exert greater control over their costs, NEC has been pushing forward with the development of a Building Energy Management System (BEMS) capable of forecasting demand for electricity and controlling the facilities accordingly. In this paper, we will take a closer look at our electricity demand prediction system and show how we have elaborated on it to create a system that will help make operations smarter as exemplified by the system we configured for, and delivered to, Obayashi Corporation Technical Research Institute. Also introduced is another case study in which the knowledge gained from the Obayashi Corporation deployment was applied to NEC Tamagawa Plant, Building 9.


YOSHIKAWA Minoru, NAKAI Yasuhiro, KISHINO Tsuyoshi

To help mitigate the effects of global warming, efforts are underway today to reduce the impact of modern society on the environment. Information technology is expected to play a critical role in helping to minimize energy use and conserve resources. Currently, with cloud-oriented approaches and centralization of IT equipment into data centers, progress in IT capabilities is accelerating. This paper introduces some examples of NEC’s R&D into highly efficient cooling technology using phase-change cooling system - which helps solve the problem of excessive power consumption by air-conditioning systems in data centers, while ensuring that the center continues to operate efficiently.


KAWASAKI Youichi, SEKI Toshinori, OGATSU Toshinobu
TOJIMA Kiminori, YAMAZAKI Shuntaro, KINJO Hiroshi

As part of the renovation of the office building at NEC Tamagawa Plant, we “smartized” the building’s energy management system, targeting a 50% reduction in energy use compared to pre-renovation. As well as upgrading the energy-saving systems, we also introduced sensor-based energy management. This paper examines the various systems and technologies we used to achieve a dramatic reduction in energy use.

KAMIMAKI Toshihiro

Due to the sharp rise in the number of mobile phone subscribers in India and other emerging countries more and more base stations that support mobile phone networks are being built. They are now to be found not only in urban areas but also in rural areas. These base stations are expected to be operational year-round 24-7, so that telecom tower operators can ensure power in case of a power outage in the areas where stable grid power supplies cannot be expected. In such areas they use diesel powered generators, however, the use of diesel power generation poses some issues, including a negative influence on the earth environment due to CO2 emissions and a high economic burden on the telecom tower operators due to a rise in fuel costs, etc. In order to resolve these issues, the replacement of lead storage batteries with lithium-ion batteries and the employment of a server-client model energy management system (EMS) is expected to improve the operational efficiency of the diesel power generators. In consequence the operational hours may decrease and a fuel combustion saving can be achieved.


Solution for energy enterprises

KISHIDA Hiroshi

With full deregulation and liberalization of the electric power retail sales scheduled for April 2016, NEC has put together an Electric Power Supplier Solution which encompasses core systems crucial for power retailing such as the Customer Information Management System (CIS) for power utility companies and the Energy Supply & Demand Management System, plus solutions to attenuate price imbalances including the Electric Power Demand Forecasting System and the Solar Power Prediction System. In this paper we will introduce the development concept and applications for the core Energy Supply & Demand Management System.


YOSHINAGA Naoki, HINO Isao, TERASAWA Satoshi
MAEDA Katsutoshi, SHIGEMOTO Yoshitaka, INOUE Kei

A power plant is required to operate safely, stably and efficiently so that the consumers may use electricity confidently. On the other hand, since the occurrence of faults is unavoidable, early detection and counteraction against faults are crucial. However the traditional method of monitoring threshold values of sensors have in some cases difficulty in the early detection of fault signs. The power plant fault sign monitoring system that has been developed by NEC in collaboration with power companies employs a proprietary big data technology called the system invariant analysis technology (SIAT) to detect signs of equipment faults early on and accurately by capturing any “unusual” behavior of the plant. In addition, NEC is also developing functions leading to the improvement of plant operations, with the aim of contributing to maintaining stable power supply by the power companies.


CHIHARA Shinpei, KATSURA Kunio

The recent trends in deregulation, industry reorganization and social environmental changes are significantly changing the environment that surrounds the utility business sector, such as in the electricity and gas supply companies. Under these circumstances, radical reforms of business organization and operations, further improvements of equipment and the use of big data are tending to be increasingly required. For these reasons, NEC jointly with Space-Time Insight, Inc. is deploying Situational Intelligence as a solution that allows utility businesses to identify their current circumstances accurately and to make decisions collaboratively based on projected perspectives. This paper is intended to give a presentation of the Situational Intelligence solution.


KUDO Koji, HASHIMOTO Ryo, SAKUMA Hisato

The dissemination and expansion of renewable energy such as photovoltaic power generation are promoted by means of feed-in tariff (FIT) and other procedures. However, output fluctuations caused by weather events create concerns due to the unfavorable effects on the supply-and-demand balance of the electric power grid. A new mechanism for adjusting the supply-and-demand of electricity is called for in order to secure a stable electric power system. This paper presents a new power supply-and-demand balancing solution proposed by NEC that is based on its virtual integration technology for distributed storage batteries using a hierarchical hybrid control system.


Roger Lin

As renewable energy generation like PV and wind become larger proportion of the overall generation fleet in electricity grids around the world, controlling and managing that variable and intermittent generation resource to match with real-time electricity consumption becomes more challenging. NEC Energy Solutions, part of NEC’s Smart Energy division, is at the forefront of deploying a new technology on the electricity grid – energy storage – that can provide better and more positive control of renewable energy systems, making future power grids both clean and sustainable, while continuing to provide the reliability and efficiency required by all electricity users.


FUJITA Yoshikazu

In sunny southern Italy, energy production from renewable sources such as solar and wind power has been growing rapidly. As these forms of energy can be difficult to deliver consistently, ensuring stabilized operation of electric grids that use these sources is now a big issue. Italy’s largest distribution system operator, ENEL Distribuzione sees the energy storage system as one of the most promising solutions for the stabilization of electric grids accompanied by the massive introduction of renewable energy. To help ENEL prepare for full deployment of the energy storage, NEC implemented a demonstration system in the field. The energy storage system for electric grids installed by NEC at an ENEL substation in southern Italy has been highly evaluated in terms of both performance and quality.


MIDORIKAWA Osamu, SAITOU Hidekazu, TETSUKA Masaharu
FUJII Makoto, OHNO Tsutomu

Under the accelerating replacement of traditional analog electricity meters by smart meters featuring digital measurement and communication functions, the Japanese power companies made RFP (request for proposals) aiming at open procurement and the dissemination of the metering and communication block of the Advanced Metering Infrastructures (AMIs). This paper reviews the methodology and achievements of NEC with regard to AMI business procedures. It will attract the attention of power companies because of its potential for improving the efficiency of their operations and services for customers.


Technology development and standardization

SAKAGUCHI Shingo

Thanks to the rapid progress and deployment of technology such as M2M and smart grids, energy infrastructure is becoming much “smarter” - that is, it is now possible to gather useful data that can be used to enhance performance and operations. The potential volume of information available seems, for all intents and purposes, to be limitless. Various methods and approaches (systems, machines, languages, etc.) are being used to collect and store information. The key to effective utilization of the accumulated data is a standard that can smooth out the differences between systems and devices, as well as between states, styles, and languages, and operate on the data in a consistent and cohesive manner. This paper introduces standards set by UN/CEFACT, the standardization organization that has been called upon to solve this issue.


SATO Tetsuji, TOKAI Yasuhisa

Smart Grid progress brought our attention to the importance of Demand Response (DR) as a means of maintaining the power demand and supply balance, and maturation of the DR market is expected. This report introduces OpenADR 2.0b, which is the latest international standard for Automated Demand Response technology, together with details of NEC’s approach.


MOTOBAYASHI Toshihiko

The introduction of storage batteries has begun to be used generally in households. When batteries of a certain size are bundled and controlled together, they can be used to balance supply and demand in areas other than for general consumers. At the EMS Shinjuku Demonstration Center, Waseda University, NEC has recently succeeded in building a system for the automated control of storage batteries of consumers from a remote location. This was done by combining ECHONET Lite, which is the standard procedure for equipment control, and OpenADR, which is the procedure for Demand Response (DR) signal interchange. Using the developed environment, NEC demonstrated the remote charging/discharging control of storage batteries at consumer premises, the results of which are reported below.


KOUMOTO Shigeru, TOIZUMI Takahiro, SANEYOSHI Eisuke

With regard to energy management, a meticulously applied monitoring of the power consumption situations of the target electrical devices leads to promoting reduced and efficient use of energy, while at the same time comfort, convenience and productivity in life and work styles are maintained. This paper describes the electricity fingerprint technology developed by NEC that aims at the simple visualization of the power consumption of individual electrical devices. Also discussed are an actual case of application and the expected future deployment of appropriate services.


OKABE Toshiya, Shantanu Chakraborty, OGATSU Toshinobu

Japan’s imminent liberalization of electricity sales and subsequent deregulation of the electric power industry in Japan will create huge opportunities for businesses in the electric power sector, while creating a host of new issues. In particular, finding a way to reduce the cost of power imbalances is considered crucial for companies trying to break into the new field of electric power retailing business. This paper introduces Digital Grid - a next-generation electric power system integrating information and communications - and our imbalance reduction solution.


Babak Asghari, Feng Guo, Ali Hooshmand
Rakesh Patil, Seyyed Ali Pourmousavi, Di Shi
Yanzhu Ye, Ratnesh Sharma

Growing number of distributed generation and energy storage system installation has introduced new challenges and opportunities for reliable and efficient operation of power grids across the globe. The evolution of smart grid has resulted in the emergence of self-contained energy ecosystems called microgrids as an aggregation of distributed generations, energy storage systems, and loads. One critical value microgrid brings to the grid is resilience, which means the capability to anticipate risks, limit their impacts, and bounce-back rapidly to maintain desired services through survival, adaptability and evolution in the face of consistently changing environment. NEC Labs America has developed a management solution for microgrids which can work in both grid-tied and grid-disconnected modes while reducing cost of operation and improving resiliency from disasters, system failures and other unforeseen events. This solution also supports the integration of renewable generation and demand fluctuations when the microgrid is connected to the grid.


INOUE Kazuhiko, KAWASAKI Daisuke, UTSUGI Kouji

By developing a high-energy-density battery, NEC has not only helped make life more convenient by facilitating the more compact design of products that use batteries, it is also supporting the broader goal of creating a more sustainable society through efficient utilization of energy. Successful development of a high-energy-density battery requires not only suitable material to accumulate and store energy, but also technology capable of controlling large amounts of energy and technology to ensure reliability and safety in the event of emergency. This paper introduces technology that uses NEC’s original flame-retardant electrolyte and separator to increase the safety of high-energy-density batteries.


MIKAMOTO Yasushi

NEC Energy Devices develops, manufactures and sells lithium-ion secondary (rechargeable) batteries. For automotive applications, we handle production of electrodes, while Automotive Energy Supply Corporation handles production of cells and other components. Because it is critical that it be possible to mass-produce electrodes used in electric vehicles, while assuring the highest levels of safety and quality, in 2008 we began laying the groundwork by joining forces with NEC’s MONOZUKURI Innovation Division to design a plant capable of becoming the world’s number-one electrode production line. Mass production and shipment of electrodes for the Nissan Leaf electric car began in July 2010. Since then we have continued to produce and ship electrodes with no quality issues or delivery problems. In this paper, we will focus on the features of our electrodes and discuss their production results.

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