GE and Masdar City commence smart appliances pilot

US appliance manufacturer GE has inked a deal with Masdar City to set up a pilot to test how ‘smart appliances’ will reduce electricity consumption in the United Arab Emirates city – whose stated goal is to become the world’s first carbon neutral, zero waste city.

The test will involve domestic appliances manufactured by GE. The equipment will be installed in early 2010 in the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. It will provide two-way communication and built-in advanced energy management functionality designed to reduce power demand in response to notification of changing utility prices and energy demand, while also monitoring and transmitting power consumption data.

Ten of the Masdar Institute’s 100 residences will participate in the two-year pilot project. The information developed from the programme will assist Masdar City in planning and designing its smart power grid in order to achieve its renewable energy powered objectives.

“Participating in such a significant, globally relevant experience by bringing leadership technology to this program is extremely exciting for our business,” explained GE Consumer & Industrial President and CEO James Campbell.

The pilot residences in the Masdar Institute building will be equipped with a Home Energy Manager and European-style and size demand response-enabled refrigerators, cooktops and combination clothes washers/dryers that work on 220volt/50HZ platforms.

During the pilot, the HEM and appliances will receive signals from the grid, which will simulate peak energy usage periods. In response, the HEM and smart appliances will customise the appliances’ responses to save energy, reducing energy demand on the grid.

For example, the HEM and refrigerator will receive a signal that electricity prices are going up. When the refrigerator gets that signal, it can delay the defrost cycle and raise the temperature inside the refrigerator by a couple of degrees, thereby saving energy and money.

When the refrigerator receives a signal that electricity prices have gone down, it will defrost the refrigerator and return the internal temperature to the original setting. The entire process does not require any involvement of the person living in the pilot residence, unless they choose to override the demand response function.

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