ASK ME ANYTHING

Ask Me Anything with Kaluza's Robin Abraham - submit your questions ahead of our December event

  • 11 November 2021
  • 33 replies
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Ask Me Anything with Kaluza's Robin Abraham - submit your questions ahead of our December event
Userlevel 7

Get your questions in!

 

I’m delighted to announce our upcoming ‘Ask My Anything’ event with Kaluza’s Robin Abraham. RSVP to this event here:

 

 

Here’s a little bit about Robin:

 

 

"Hi OVO Forum members,

 

I'm really looking forward to meeting you and taking your questions at the upcoming AMA event in December!

 

I lead product development for Kaluza's flexibility module, which provides the foundational technology to enable OVO's innovative propositions for electric vehicles and smart HVAC systems, like OVO Drive + Anytime.

 

Prior to Kaluza, I worked in a very different space - finance, primarily in algorithmic trading products in financial markets. Working alongside folks at Kaluza and OVO who are passionate about a net zero future, gave me the unique opportunity to use my knowledge and experience working in live markets to be at the frontlines of solving really exciting and challenging problems relating to managing demand in real-time on the grid.

 

I'd love to talk about the challenges in building technology for the nascent domestic flexibility industry, and our learnings about how we can remove barriers to customer adoption for such products.

 

Thanks,

Robin"

 

 

We’re really excited to have Robin joining us for this one. If past AMA events are anything to go by, there’ll be plenty of interesting Kaluza tech questions for Robin. Please submit these questions in the comments section below, and we can use these as a template to structure the event. 

 

See you all there at 16:30 on December the 7th!


33 replies

Userlevel 7

Well this looks to be another exciting event on the horizon.

 

As I know you’re a far more technical bunch than me I’m sure you’ll have some great questions to ask Robin.

 

Who wants to kick things off with the first pre-submitted question then? :wink:

 

@Blastoise186, @hydrosam, @sylm_2000, @Jequinlan, @juliamc, @nealmurphy, @PeterR1947, @Simon1D, @ArundaleP, @EverythingNeedsAUserName, @knight, @malc_smith, @Jeffus, @Gum168, @chriswsmith, @MrPuds, @Gingernut49, @Jason lewis, @M.isterW, @dnshorto, @chartman 

Userlevel 7
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Will v2g shortly be supporting CCS2 and if so how do I get involved as in the next 12 months I plan to switch to CCS2 from CHADEMO

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What future do you see for smart heating systems that include heat storage? We have one, as part of an OVO trial, but the cost of the equipment is high. Do you think large scale adoption is possible, given the high cost?

Userlevel 7

And we’re off - thanks for your questions :)

 

This might be a good time to set some expectations of the sort of areas Robin is best placed to answer questions about. Robin works very closely with Kaluza’s (OVO Groups technology company) ‘Flexibility offering’. 

 

I’ve taken this from Kaluza’s Flexibility page:

 

“It will take more than human intelligence to decarbonise the grid. We must innovate the way we distribute and use electricity as generation becomes more renewable and decentralised. 

 

Kaluza is able to connect and control millions of smart devices across people’s homes, such as electric vehicles, heaters and batteries. The platform uses machine learning and AI to create a more flexible energy system, optimising devices to use energy off-peak, when costs and carbon levels are lower. Working with a range of industry-leading hardware manufacturers, energy suppliers and grid operators, Kaluza’s flexibility offering is driving the global transition to a distributed and secure, zero carbon grid.”

 

This is really exciting technology, with big implications and a range of possible use cases, and I can’t wait to hear Robin answer questions about where they’re heading!

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Do you see Kaluza offering an API to enable integration to existing systems and therefore enabling control for demand side reduction and load signals through your platform?

Do you see Kaluza ever offering its services to offer customers revenue streams outside of a trial environment as a stand alone service (ie not part of an OVO product such as drive)?

Where do you see Kaluza in 5 and 10 years and how integral to our future net zero energy market will it be? 
 

Do you see legislation towards a standardised “smart” system being in the future enabling all hardware manufacturers to offer integration with Kaluza and other smart systems?

Userlevel 3

Do you see the future of energy production to be on the macro level (as it mainly is now) or on the micro generation level, with connected, smart home energy storage batteries, along the lines of the Tesla power wall? In this example I would see that the burgeoning hidden generation technologies (solar glass in windows, solar panels on the roof, etc) would be being employed to generate the electricity.

 

At what level would the AI aspect come in to this vision and how would it be implemented? I see that, for example, Samsung are making a lot of smart products to feed information out which an AI could make use of (currently just makes pretty graphs in SmartThings, but the potential is there). These items, though, are big ticket items and cost a lot of money. Would AI work well enough at a household level? Retrofitting existing high consumption devices via a smart plug may work, but currently such plugs are not rated high enough to be safe.

 

 To make AI work with existing technology; a standard access, connection, functionality and data set would be required. The best that I have seen, so far, is either Apple’s HomeKit or Eve Energy. Both can at least access Hue, Tado, Eve and Ring. They cannot, however, leverage the full functionality of the “home” app for the brand. Do you think that this will ever truly happen? Just look at the existing smart meters which Ovo are installing, as an example. We are getting the exact same IHD’ s as Bulb customers, but the suppliers of the IHD’s (Chameleon) haven’t enabled a SmartThings api which would allow Ovo customers to view their live energy consumption from their phones and see if there was anything left on whilst they were out (for example). 

 

Userlevel 7
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I think we need an icebreaker question or two. So here’s one to get started! XD

Why the name “Kaluza”?

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Can you create an extension to the drive anytime product to use the vehicle API to control the charge.? A number of manufacturers support this. I know with Tesla you can extract info like how many kWh consumed, you can now also control the current remotely, so that you could moderate consumption to provide the right balance.

 

As you can understand how much is being used, you can apply a discount as appropriate.

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Any thoughts on how we bring innovative tariffs and energy savings technologies to people who need them most? To qualify that question, I guess I am thinking that those on the lowest incomes often pay more for their energy for a variety of reasons: pre-pay meters, little capital to invest in new technologies etc. If you have the capital to invest in PV, EVs, Batteries, smart controls and are enable to navigate the complex energy market you can save yourself lots of money over a medium/long horizon.

Userlevel 7

Hi team,

 

As always some great questions. And as always @ArundaleP is leading the way here. Uncanny. 

 

We’re going to go with a slightly different format this time round, to keep things fresh! If you haven’t already, head to the Event topic to RSVP and to see the plan for the session:

 

 

And get your questions in to Robin here. @Transparent @sylm_2000 @EverythingNeedsAUserName and @nealmurphy I’m surprised we haven’t seen a question from you yet. Got anything to ask Robin about Kaluza’s Flex platform, its use cases and implications? 

 

See you all on the 7th!

Userlevel 7

Another quick comment from me to let everyone know that we’re running a poll to see which format of forum events you like most. Have your say here:

 

 

Thanks everyone!

Userlevel 6
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Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all had energy efficient houses with minimal heat losses and no need for massive heat inputs? Sorry. Dream over. Back to the real world.

As we move towards less carbon intensive power, can Kaluza assist with it all? How deeply integrated would Kaluza need to be for peak effectiveness? Or want to be? The web site only refers to car batteries, household batteries, and storage radiators, and only from a few suppliers.

A likely full electric household will include :-

DEMANDS and guesstimated peak times (hopefully Kaluza has better information)

  • Heating - breakfast and evening
  • Cooling - perhaps afternoons and evenings? Here in the North East, maybe every other year ;)
  • Hot water - early morning and early evening
  • Cooking - breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Refrigeration - all day with potential to switch off at night if insulated well.
  • Various computing and smart tech - working hours / all day
  • Car(s) - overnight

SUPPLIES

  • Solar panels - daylight hours
  • Solar water heating - daylight hours
  • Wind from ridge generators or rarely turbines- irregular

STORES

  • Household battery
  • Vehicle battery
  • Storage radiators

Can the Kaluza algorithms :-

  • React to local grid demand and supply, not just regional or national?
  • Cope with devices from multiple manufacturers?
  1. it only seems to work with an extremely limited subset of suppliers.
  2. will there ever be a royalty-free international standard?
  • Learn my usage habits so that I don't export all my stored energy then have to reimport it, losing energy along the way?
  • Integrate with ASHP or GSHP, perhaps pre-heating in advance of expected/planned price peaks?


Currently Kaluza looks for partnerships with you if you are an electric car manufacturer, a smart device manufacturer, an energy supplier or a network operator. If I change my electricity supplier, I lose the benefits.
Does Kaluza envisage going direct to consumer, acting as a system architect bringing together all of these disparate technologies into a coherent whole?
Could Kaluza identify local areas where more storage or local generation is needed, and incentivise it or even provide it?

Userlevel 7

Some really great questions you’ve raised here, @EverythingNeedsAUserName!

 

I’m really looking forward to hearing from Robin about how Kaluza is planning to cater to the ever-evolving demands for energy and storage. 

 

Great point to mention about the many different manufacturers of green tech - I’d love to hear more about the AI potential of Kaluza in terms of being able to adapt when a member gets a new appliance or EV - Would there ever be a way that members could use the Flex platform to see the potential impact on their energy usage before investing in a new EV or heat pump for example?

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Reading forum articles has led to another question (my wife would warn you that I always have one more question...).

Can Kaluza help with the likelihood of power outages and the batteries / EVs that they are monitoring actually powering the home in a network power cut?

 

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I agree with @EverythingNeedsAUserName that the subject of off-grid electricity supply is important for us to discuss with Kaluza.

During this last week I published the high energy-consumption of the PowerVault storage battery I’ve had installed for the OVO Trial. And within the Smart Home Treehouse there are a number of problems discussed by participants on the Zero Carbon Heating Trial which could be resolved if their new Heat pumps were operated from an off-grid battery charged with a hybrid inverter.

(If Robin has been given access to the Treehouse, then look at this topic).

 

There’s no reason I can think of why Kaluza shouldn’t pick up this feedback and explore the use of Flex for such off-grid storage.

OVO could deliver the required electricity to the store at the optimum times for lowest grid-demand and highest renewable-energy in the mix.

Equally, OVO won’t be buying in the most expensive electricity from the European Wholesale market when it’s most expensive. That makes it cheaper for them to supply electricity to homes with off-grid capability.

Off-grid is also better for the Distribution Network Operators (DNOs). Their substation losses will be lower both in terms of phase-balancing and the absence of harmonics, which is a major issue with Heat pumps.

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Q2: The present iteration of Flex is biased towards the financial benefit for OVO/Kaluza.

That’s unsurprising because us customers don’t yet have a Time Of Use tariff. In contrast OVO’s buyers acquire electricity based on half-hour timeslots.

See discussion after the earlier AMA with Simon Maine and also here.

Nevertheless, thanks to sterling analysis by @Simon1D over the past month we now have a pretty fair idea as to why a ToU tariff can’t yet be used on a trial with customers. If Kaluza follow the recommended path to correct the errors, then ToU should follow shortly.

From the customer perspective Flex and an OVO ToU tariff are a matched pair and shouldn’t be tested separately.

 

Even so, the inputs currently used by Flex

a: are national, derived from National Grid data

b: take no account of regional differences such as:

  • the amount of renewable energy being rejected due to over-supply (the Energy-Mix)
  • the losses incurred by the DNOs due to imbalances and surges
  • interaction/energy-losses between Flex-controlled devices on the same substation
  • financial losses to customers incurred by inefficiencies of those devices whilst under Flex-control?

When and how will Kaluza move forward to address these issues?

Userlevel 7

And he’s here - thanks for these questions, @Transparent. Keen to hear Robin’s thoughts on this on the night. 

 

Some good news from Kaluza yesterday, which Robin may be able to answer questions on:

 

Today we are delighted to announce our partnership with Mitsubishi Corporation in Japan!

Together, Mitsubishi Corporation and 
Kaluza will develop a new suite of solutions that enable energy utilities and auto manufacturers in Japan to reward customers for choosing electric vehicles. These solutions, including EV leasing and financing, energy, public charging access and domestic smart charging, will revolutionise the experience for millions of EV customers and accelerate Japan’s progress towards carbon neutrality by 2050.

Scott Neuman, CEO of Kaluza commented: 

“With a distinguished track record in mobility and technology innovation, Japan is perfectly placed to turn electric vehicles into a giant distributed battery for the electricity grid. Through Kaluza, this partnership will actively reward the nation’s EV drivers for their role in shaping a smarter, greener and more resilient energy system.”

Read the full press release
here

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That's great news for Japan but pretty much useless for us. Only this July and August I read that Mitsubishi was to exit UK car market!

https://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/manufacturer-news/2020/07/28/mitsubishi-to-exit-uk-market

https://www.motortradenews.com/news/mitsubishi-to-pull-out-of-the-uk-market/

 

 

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Q: Mitsubishi investment might be very welcome to OVO Group Ltd. However it could have a negative effect on the possibility of the Flex Platform being acceptable to Ofgem/HMG as the single nationwide domestic energy control system we need.

I would be very wary of allowing foreign shareholders/investors to have control over the software system on which our homes and EVs are to become increasingly reliant.

There is only room for one such control system in the UK, and this Forum has discussed two potential rivals to Flex.

Why should the UK take the risk of choosing Flex when there are alternatives which could provide greater security and customer involvement?

 

NB: Robin please can we avoid the typical marketing-speak in answering this question?

You have participants here who have first-hand knowledge of the Flex storage trials, and we’d really appreciate hearing a more technically-astute response drawn from your knowledge of where Flex is heading. :slight_smile:

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Some really great questions you’ve raised here, @EverythingNeedsAUserName!

 

I’m really looking forward to hearing from Robin about how Kaluza is planning to cater to the ever-evolving demands for energy and storage. 

 

Great point to mention about the many different manufacturers of green tech - I’d love to hear more about the AI potential of Kaluza in terms of being able to adapt when a member gets a new appliance or EV - Would there ever be a way that members could use the Flex platform to see the potential impact on their energy usage before investing in a new EV or heat pump for example?

I like that idea. 

The Loop app attempts to give an indication of the impact of adding solar panels and batteries to your house based on your actual electricity usage.

So anything like this would be a useful input for people like me. Of course it will never be perfect but i personally think it would be useful. 

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@jason.lewis  wrote:

I am wondering if we can help design a tariff that takes account of the need for a morning warm up time and hot water heat-up, say starting 5am (so as not to wake everyone up too early)  and ending at 7am [….]

@Transparent any thoughts?

 

Oh I’ve got loads of thoughts!  :yum:

This is one reason why I’m pleased that Stephen Fitzpatrick said I was to be the first customer on the forthcoming Time Of Use tariff. That was back in January. But we do at least now understand why Kaluza haven’t been able to get it operational yet because @Simon1D has spelled it out for them here.

Ideally I’d like to see OVO run out ToU to a Trial Group first - preferably chosen from the most prolific commentators on the

  1. Zero Carbon Heating (ASHP) trial
  2. Storage Radiator trial (PowerVault and Sönnen)
  3. V2G charger trial (now over but chargers mostly still in place)

That would provide rapid feedback on the three main areas of concern:

  • the User Interface (separation of our standard settings and those over-rides we implement for one-off events)
  • how we use the functionality to manage devices which can be under Flex control
  • how we handle preferences other than by cost per kWh (weather, energy-mix etc)

 

Whilst the software is initially all ‘going wrong’ the ToU Trialists could have a price compensation mechanism agreed, based on our previous usage. Without this we wouldn’t feel free to sufficiently push the boundaries.

And if OVO/Kaluza can stretch themselves a bit further, I’d like to see

  • another Treehouse (private) area, but this time where the software development managers actually join in!
  • an NDA such that OVO/Kaluza will feel more secure in sharing details with us
  • a ban on posting details back to the open Forum during the trial unless it’s agreed by the Dev-Team and the Moderators
  • additional energy data-monitoring installed in our homes to provide statistics at intervals shorter than the 30-min periods used by our Smart Meters (see Energy Monitoring)
  • monthly video-seminars with the developers and the OVO staff who devise tariff structures
  • free coffee mug

 

The problem is, there won’t be time to run all this past Robin Abraham at next week’s video-call. What do we do @Jess_OVO ?

Userlevel 7

Great to hear that’s an upvote for my question/suggestion there, @Jeffus!

 

Any other potential features or tools you’d like to see Kaluza work on in future?

 

Just a quick reminder for those who might be yet to post their questions - we’ll be accepting pre-submitted questions until this Friday, so get those queries posted if you haven’t already! :slight_smile:

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Let us know if that temp-change idea at 8am does the trick.

If not, then I have a number of other ideas how to go about it. It’s obviously important to ensure that the mechanism

  • can operate under control from Flex
  • doesn’t lock out the heating system if Flex fails one day(!)
  • can be retro-fitted to existing installations
  • automatically ties into whatever Time Of Use tariff you may have
  • will continue to function whether or not your supplier is OVO

Are you aware that we have a video-chat with Robin Abraham of Kaluza next Tuesday (7th)? Have a look at the Invitation and the questions/points already suggested.

 

I have been wondering... 

Heat pump manufacturers are investing a serious amount of money in their controllers to make their heat pumps efficient including AI and learning. 

Is it better that Flex provides some sort of API that heat pump manufacturers can make use of so they can include the cost of energy in their AI?

I can't help thinking Flex is going to struggle interfacing intelligently with heat pumps in terms of flow temperature curves etc and the AI being built into heat pumps, from a multitude of pump  manufactures and configurations. Feels like a lot of quite complex functionality for Flex to deal with. 

Am curious to know what flex is doing with these heat pumps and how they are configured and what OVO think about their role in controlling pumps. 

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@Tim_OVO @Jess_OVO 

Sounds like you’ve got plenty of questions to cover in a hour. The Flex, ToU tariff and utility with heat pumps is most of interest to me.

Does the deal with Mitsubishi rule out any integration with those of us that had the dumb (mainly in a tech sense, but not exclusively) Daikin heat pumps fitted via the heat pump trial?

I assume it would be a bit limiting to restrict usage to just one brand of heat pump which links to some of the previous questions asked about links/integration with other systems*
*I’m not quite as techy as some of the others so my terminology might not be quite right. How does Kaluza, Flex, the grid and other systems all work together and not limit you to certain suppliers or manufacturers is what interests me. 

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Well, @Jeffus, this is the conversation I think Kaluza needs to be having with us trialists (of all flavours!).

@Tim_OVO  has given us the opportunity to put suggestions on a future-events wishlist, to which I’ve added a very large wish on behalf of participants in the Zero Carbon Heating Trial.

And there’s the suggestion earlier in this topic where I’ve asked for enhanced communication with Kaluza as they release a Time Of Use tariff.

I’m happy that the AI built into Heat pumps by manufacturers remains in place to ensure that its operation is optimised. But the over-arching control being set by end-users using a timeclock/thermostat is primitive and only operates on current conditions. It doesn’t reflect weather-conditions in the forthcoming few hours.

This is where the AI algorithms built into Flex should be ‘bending’ the preferences already set up by the consumer.

 

Example-1: If the weather forecast states that early mist/fog will clear at 09:30 and the rest of the day will be full/bright sunshine, then you don’t want to waste energy in heating your house to your usual 20°C by 9am!

Flex should ‘hold off’ the normal Heat pump temp/time settings, perhaps instead heating rooms to 19°C by 8am and then stopping.

 

Example-2: It’s blowing gale and there’s an abundance of (cheaper) electricity from the North Sea wind-turbine farms. But Flex ‘knows’ this will die down at 5pm. It makes sense to boost all houses with Heat pumps during the afternoon, storing as much of the energy as possible within those homes.

When the wind dies, that’s less electricity which homes with Heat pumps will  require during the early evening, when demand and prices are always higher anyway.

 

And, yes I have already thought how the consumer might be able to allow such daily variations via the User Interface of their App (or next generation touch-screen IHD:relaxed:

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