Controlled energy supplies with Powerstar Virtue

31st July 2015
Nat Bowers


Energy storage can now be linked with voltage optimisation and renewables with the revolutionary Powerstar Virtue.

Dr Alex Mardapittas, Managing Director, EMSc, explains the benefits of the groundbreaking technology.

With the surge in demand for electricity increasing around the world and pressure to reduce consumption, emissions and costs, it’s important that buildings move towards having greater control and flexibility over electricity usage.

Those tasked with ensuring the most efficient energy systems are operating in commercial buildings are finding energy storage is an attractive option, as it allows energy generated during periods of low demand to be stored locally and used at peak times.

The electronic-dynamic intelligent technology of Powerstar Virtue has now taken further strides forward as it allows energy saved from the company’s own patented voltage optimisation technology to be diverted into storage, along with combining energy generated from onsite renewables where available. The result for the user is greater reliability and unprecedented control over their own supply.

Powerstar Virtue has been designed to build on the benefits of the company’s voltage optimisation systems and is suitable for large consumers of electricity and for demand side operators. It can be a key component in a strategy for optimising energy use and storage.

It can also operate as a virtual power station and as forecasting of available power is simple, informed decisions can be made on when stored energy should be used, which in addition to saving electricity, allows users to take advantage of National Grid led initiatives such as short term operating reserve, electricity demand reduction and frequency disturbance recorder.

Powerstar Virtue can also act as a full facility UPS for up to two hours and due to its modular nature, additional storage modules can be fitted post installation to match any future needs of a site. Network interruption risks are eliminated, whilst stable and reliable power is guaranteed at all times.

Once installed, sites also enjoy benefits from the electronic-dynamic voltage optimisation component of the system including reduced harmonics, voltage phase balancing and improved power factor, reduced maintenance costs of electrical equipment and the 100% savings guarantee which comes with all Powerstar products.

Powerstar voltage optimisation technology, which is critical to the Virtue system, is used around the world and is designed, engineered and built by EMSc in Sheffield.

Powerstar voltage optimisation systems are unique as they match the incoming electricity supply to the needs of onsite equipment and return excess energy in the direction of the supply by generating negative power leading to savings on electricity bills, a reduction in electricity consumption and a cut in carbon emissions.

The National Grid typically delivers 242V to a site and the voltage required for optimum operation of electrical equipment is on average 22V less and that excess energy is wasteful and expensive if the imbalance is not corrected.

Powerstar remains the only voltage optimisation technology to be granted a patent on its design, showcasing the uniqueness of the technology.

The research and development led company ensures customers install the most appropriate engineering focused package supported by expert project engineers and after sales service. Analysis is carried out on a site’s energy consumption before and after installation and savings are guaranteed as proposed.

The technology delivers typical financial savings of between 12 to 15% with a payback period of two to three years and savings of 10 to 12% in electricity consumption.

A full mathematical simulation modelling of the Powerstar voltage optimisation system from Professor Jihong Wang, of Warwick University concluded that: “The overall power consumption is reduced because the negative power is induced as feedback power to the source. Virtually, this power can be considered as power ‘generated’ from the load site.” Therefore, regardless of the load connected to the Powerstar system, it will always deliver savings, as they are achieved by optimising a building’s incoming electricity supply.

Additional savings can be achieved on LED lighting and variable speed drives and the Powerstar Virtue solution also eliminates the use of inverters on renewable installations bringing further savings.

The Powerstar Virtue solution is integrated with either Powerstar MAX, which offers electronic-dynamic variable voltage optimisation for sites with fluctuating voltage or varying loads, or Powerstar HV MAX, which offers HV side optimisation with the addition of an amorphous core low loss transformer.

From July 1, 2015, the new 2021 European Eco Design Specifications take effect and will have an impact on many products. One solution that has exceeded the new regulations since first being manufactured over three years ago is the Powerstar HV MAX.

The new regulations require all HV/MV transformers in the EU are manufactured to the minimum specifications set out and must achieve the required efficiencies. The HV/MV amorphous core, super low-loss transformer used in the Powerstar HV MAX not only, already meets the new specifications, but exceeds them and will continue to do so. This makes it much more efficient as it provides greater levels of savings over a standard transformer’s lifespan – delivering in turn a higher return on investment.

It should not be confused with a standard super-low loss amorphous core HV transformer, as the solutions are not comparable, the Powerstar HV MAX is a combined solution that offers users, not only the recognised benefits of a highly efficient super low-loss transformer but additional savings, efficiencies and energy reduction benefits afforded from electronic-dynamic voltage optimisation and a stabilised voltage output. Powerstar HV MAX should not be judged in comparison with other low-loss transformers as the benefits and financial savings are greater.

Following the recent announcement of a €1.65m EU Development Grant and the signing of a supply agreement with npower Business, there has been a noticeable increase in the demand for Powerstar systems. As a result EMSc has launched a range of finance packages, including an interest free option, which is re-payable in 24 monthly instalments.

The 0% interest finance package is just one of several flexible options being offered. Rental, hire purchase and leasing, as well as energy performance contracts, are all available.

The move was made to enable clients to enjoy the benefits of Powerstar with no up-front costs and to maximise funds for key capital projects - that may be core to business activities and growth initiatives - whilst still making considerable steps to reduce overall electricity consumption, in turn reducing their impact on the environment.

For more information about Powerstar solutions and the EMSc finance packages visit www.powerstar.com.

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