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CityVerve Open Innovation Q&A

Posted by: Q Energy
Category: News


What is Qbots?

Did you know that only 50 % of your energy bill is actual energy costs, and the rest is made of various costs such as time-of-use charges for transmission and distribution, capacity balancing, and renewable levies? These non-commodity costs are predicted to increase year-on-year with our current electricity network as we try to meet renewable targets while ensuring the security of supply.

Qbots is a Manchester-based start-up established with the vision of tackling energy challenges using the latest advancements in data analytics, IoT, and automation.

We target these additional charges aiming to reduce energy bills by at least 20%, while also earning revenues and creating new opportunities for asset owners.

At Qbots we help building owners take control of their energy future, by enabling their buildings to actively participate in the energy markets.

Up to 16% of the UK’s peak electricity requirement or 9.8GW can be provided by non-domestic customers either shifting demand away from busy periods or using on-site generation with flexible energy storage. £2.4 billion of system cost savings per year could be achieved by 2030 with the addition of energy storage, according to Carbon trust.

Tell us about yourselves and why did you start Qbots?

Myself and Dr.Li Yao, have worked together for nearly four years delivering IoT solutions for clients and projects within the smart city space. Coming from an engineering background, I have always been passionate about sustainability and interested in strategies that can accelerate renewable adoption.

With a Ph.D in Computer science and years of experience in the technology sector, Li wanted to build a product that used the power of actionable data analytics to deliver real impact to cities and value for clients.

That is when we decided to create Qbots to bring forward technologies powered by artificial intelligence to deliver tangible impact in the energy markets.

What made you join CityVerve Open Innovation programme?

We have been keenly following the CityVerve project since we started Qbots, especially the energy & environment theme. When the Open Innovation programme was announced, we knew that this would be a great opportunity for us to develop a demonstration.

Since the CityVerve project has involved installing sensors for data collection in buildings, it provides a good platform for us to come on board and unlock the value of this data with Qbots’ predictive model and control optimisation technology.

CityVerve also provides us access to a partner network and pool of resources that we wouldn’t have if it weren’t for the programme

How has your CityVerve experience been so far?

The value of the CityVerve approach comes from the interoperability between systems and seamless data sharing among different streams including transport, energy and health to help address the challenges of a city.

Growth Studio and Cisco have greatly supported us through the Open Innovation programme, helping us to refine our value proposition and introducing us to relevant partners.

Working with Bruntwood, we have identified two buildings to start with: Citylabs 1.0 and the James Chadwick Building.

For the Citylabs building, we have already done our basic analysis to identify controllable loads and potential energy market services that could be provided. Currently, we are working on a high-level model for this building and strategy for demand-side response. For the James Chadwick Building, which is part of the University of Manchester, we are trying to build on top of the work already done in the CityVerve project and test out different scenarios for interacting with energy markets.

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