How RISC-V may contribute to the energy transition with Consolinno Energy GmbH

According to the European Union's energy and climate targets, greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced to zero by 2050. The Paris Climate Agreement calls for global warming to be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Achieving these targets requires a switch to renewable energies such as wind power and photovoltaics. This requires a reform of the energy industry, which poses technological challenges for European countries.

In terms of dimensioning and control, the current electricity grid is designed for a small number of centralised, controllable power plants on the one hand and static consumers on the other. However, the proportion of decentralised, emission-free energy generation plants is constantly increasing. Many of these systems do not supply their energy constantly, but with large fluctuations throughout the day. Cushioning such fluctuations completely with batteries is not realistic, as this would require gigantic storage capacities. At the same time, single and multi-family homes, which represent a large proportion of energy consumers, can no longer be modelled using static load profiles alone. Interconnected, controllable devices such as heat pumps, battery storage systems and smart household appliances are becoming increasingly widespread in residential properties, offering flexibility in consumption. With the strong growth of electromobility, the electric car is another flexible consumer that can be used temporarily as a buffer storage or energy supplier. It is therefore important to use this flexibility and adapt the consumers to the fluctuating generation in the best possible way through energy optimisation.

Making a contribution to meeting the Paris climate targets through energy efficiency has been the goal of Consolinno Energy GmbH since it was founded in 2017. The young GreenTech company from Regensburg, Germany, realises efficient energy solutions with innovative technologies (AI, IoT, Cloud, Edge) and smart energy planning. Consolinno relies on hardware systems developed in-house, customised software and storage and visualisation in the cloud. AI plays a decisive role here with schedule management. When used in neighbourhoods, sector coupling takes place: components such as combined heat and power plant (CHP), photovoltaic (PV) and battery are interconnected and automated for the best possible energy efficiency. The solutions are part of smart home automation as well: the devices therefore also regulate the energy flow in single-family homes. Consolinno has developed the manufacturer-independent energy manager Leaflet HEMS (home energy management system) for this purpose. The Leaflet HEMS is also equipped for future topics such as grid serviceability and dynamic tariffs.

Credits: Consolinno Energy

The ISOLDE research project is focussing on the further development of the RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA). This ISA could represent serious competition for the dominant ARM and x86 architectures in the future and has the special characteristics of being modular and open source. This means that with RISC-V, any company can in principle purchase its own customised microprocessor unit (MPU) or even develop one itself. Many partners in ISOLDE take care of the design or improvement of the RISC-V architecture or associated extensions. Consolinno Energy GmbH is taking part in the project in the role of the user and is investigating whether a RISC-V processor could be used to develop a real, competitive IoT product in the energy sector.

As part of the ISOLDE project, Consolinno therefore wants to investigate the feasibility of a completely open-source energy management system based on RISC-V, embedded Linux and OpenEMS. The aim is also to investigate whether it is possible to transfer an existing ARM-based software stack to a RISC-V processor. In addition, Consolinno wants to explore the possibilites of optimisation of energy systems on the edge in greater depth and, if possible, make use of hardware accelerators on the RISC-V platform. The aim is to show that RISC-V is not just a playground for science and research, but may also be used as a reliable building block for companies in the private sector.


Consolinno Energy GmbH: