Future of the Global Grid

The Electricity Research Centre is a collaboration between academia and major players in the electricity industry set up to tackle fundamental and applied research questions underpinning the development of a sustainable electrical energy system.

Who: Electricity Research Centre and Cylon
What: Systems development and testing
When: Ongoing since 1991
Why: Providing access to leading edge research

UCD is both a development partner for Cylon and a test customer for its pioneering building energy management systems. In particular, the company has forged strong links with the Electricity Research Centre (ERC) since the organisation’s formation in 1991.

Cylon is internationally recognised as a leader in the development of smart energy management systems. The company, which employs 75 people, works through a worldwide network of system integrators and has customers in Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

“The relationship with Cylon is very long standing,” says Mark O’Malley, professor of Electrical Engineering at UCD and founder and director of the Electricity Research Centre. “We are not working on any specific project with the company, rather it is a process of continuous interaction. The ERC is at the leading edge of research into a whole domain of interests within the electricity field and it is important for Cylon to have access to this information and to use it to inform its road map for the future.”

Cylon’s systems provide its clients with real-time information about energy consumption and usage within their buildings. But as an energy management company Cylon also has a major interest in where the power its customers use comes from - the electricity grid.

With demand for power continuing to grow and limited supply available under the conventional power system and increasing use of renewable generation, international energy research is heavily focused on the development of the socalled “Smart Grid.” This will transform traditional networks moving them from passive to active consumption models through a complex process of interconnectivity. For companies such as Cylon, this shift is of huge significance.

“One of the main goals of the relationship with UCD is to have access to the research being undertaken by the ERC into the future of the grid and to what is likely to happen with demand not only in Ireland but worldwide,” Sean Giblin says. “Energy is an evolving industry and the ERC are experts in the field with very good connections into what is happening internationally. Through the collaboration we get access to this knowledge.”

Giblin says another major benefit to Cylon of the relationship with the ERC is the networking opportunities it provides. “The ERC is operating at a very high level with industry and with similar agencies in other countries and through our links we are getting to know of and known by potential customers. UCD is also a Cylon customer in its own right. We work with the UCD Buildings Office and they have been very supportive of new product introductions and testing.”

The ERC and Cylon keep in monthly contact and Mark O’Malley says that the relationship also has the potential to provide Cylon with employees of the calibre it needs. “Our goal for Cylon is to help the company to develop and grow at the leading edge of its industry. The goal for us is to ensure that the work our students are doing is leading edge and commercially relevant.”

Case Study - Cylon - Future of the Global Grid .pdf|77kb