Incubatenergy® Labs and Ameren Accelerator present Demo Day 2020


Join EPRI and Ameren on Wednesday, Oct. 14, from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central time (U.S.), for the Incubatenergy Labs Challenge Demo Day, featuring presentations from the 10 teams conducting demonstration projects as part of our 2020 cohort. The event is free and open to the public.

You’ll learn about outcomes from each of our accelerated demonstrations, designed to address challenges in electric mobility, customer and community engagement, system resiliency, tools for a digital workforce, energy efficiency, and more.

Investors and utilities also can choose to participate in our Investor Connect meetings following our Demo Day presentations, an opportunity to meet one-on-one with the startups involved in this cohort. See below for our agenda and descriptions about each project. Registration opening soon.


1:30 p.m.:    Opening Remarks from Ameren President and CEO Warner Baxter, EPRI CEO Mike Howard, and other utility executives

1:45 – 3:30 p.m.:    Demonstration Team Presentations

3:30 – 3:45 p.m.:     Closing Panel Discussion

3:45 – 4:30 p.m.:    Investor Connect 1:1 Meetings (Utilities, Investors, Startups)

ABOUT THE PROJECTS – hosted by Ameren

How can managed EV charging deliver value to an integrated utility and its customers? Ameren deployed’s software platform to EV drivers in its service territory to quantify the value of managed charging in terms of energy bill savings, carbon emissions reduction, and a non-wires alternative to managing the distribution grid. After remotely on-boarding 40 EV drivers onto its wireless platform, worked with the drivers to optimize their charging schedules while still ensuring their vehicle was charged by the time they needed it. The result was savings of up to $10/customer/month from time-of-use rates and dynamic hourly pricing, 100lbs of CO2emissions avoided per month by aligning EV charging with low-carbon generation, and over 40 thermal constraint events avoided on feeder lines across the Ameren network. This pilot proved that managed EV charging can deliver value to utilities, their customers, and the environment, and the next step is for Ameren to roll out this solution to its residential customer base.

GridFruit – hosted by Southern California Edison and Edison International

Did you know the low-hanging “fruit” of energy efficiency, demand reduction, and decarbonization could be commercial refrigeration? And the reduction of energy costs for such customers? SoCal Edison and EPRI worked with Grid Fruit to use its artificial intelligence-based demand reduction software platform to model the management of commercial refrigeration systems across multiple small food stores (such as 7-Eleven) in California. By connecting the Grid Fruit software platform to existing refrigeration controls systems, the project came up with improved control settings for time-shiftable load events (e.g., defrost cycles) that potentially reduces energy bills and peak demand costs at the store level, and, when managed in aggregate, smooth the power demand across a utility service territory. Such demand reduction strategies are also expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the utility service territory. The project generated appropriate cycle scheduling commands to coordinate high-demand refrigeration cycles in food and convenience stores operating within the SCE territory and optimize for climatic conditions, time-of-day pricing, and other incentives. The next phase of the project, which would be funded through other supplemental project activities, would be to conduct field tests in California.

IND. Technologies – hosted by Ameren

All transmission lines are not created equally, and because of this, additional insight into the health of aging lines can mitigate catastrophic failures due to failing line components or right of way encroachments by vegetation. In cases where a rebuild would take a critical line out of service for too long, and a catastrophic failure could leave customers without power, precise detection of potential faults can prevent these critical events from occurring. Upon installing the first set of sensors on an aging 138kV transmission circuit, there was a recorded anomaly within 12 hours of the sensors going live. At this point, our drone pilots could quickly be instructed where to look within a couple of spans for hardware defects or vegetation encroachments that might cause this. With an intuitive cloud-based interface, the data can easily be analyzed to see if the event is periodic, or if there is a correlation to any other local events such as weather, changing load, or other impacts. Because of the real-time detection and alerts, these events can be inspected immediately with internal crews, limiting a potential line failure to a small maintenance concern. Looking forward, by incorporating the incoming IND Technology sensor data with current maintenance information, these sensors can be strategically placed in areas with aging infrastructure to closely monitor the line health and precisely predict potential issues to avoid urgent high-cost repairs and minimize customer impact.

Kognitiv Spark – hosted by EPRI

How can augmented reality be used to assist utility personnel on the job, making them safer, more efficient, and more productive while in the field? Kognitive Spark (KS) offers a remote mentor solution, called “Remote Spark” that uses the Microsoft HoloLens 2 platform to connect field workers with a remote expert for real-time assistance. With a transitioning workforce, increasing criticality of reliable power generation and delivery, and widening sources of information, there is a growing need for technology that provides field workers with access to experienced support without interrupting the flow of work. The KS solution purports the ability to connect field workers to remote experts and transmit holographic 3-D images using extremely low bandwidth, helping companies improve knowledge transfer, reduce equipment downtime, and eliminate errors. EPRI is investigating the functionality, ease of use, and suitability of this technology in electric utility applications and will demonstrate it using scenarios applicable to both generation and transmission workers.

Linevision – hosted by TVA

TVA has deployed LineVision’s non-contact transmission line sensors to uncover previously unavailable data about the health of their aging assets. With just 10 weeks of continuously monitored conductor temperature, tension, and motion, LineVision was able to spot differences in the design versus field-observed behavior of TVA’s transmission lines. This information is producing insights on conductor annealing, elongation, and tension limits, as well as recommendations for revised maximum operating temperature limits so that reliability and safety are ensured while optimizing maintenance budgets.

PingThings – hosted by Ameren

Can sensors help to improve the resiliency of the distribution grid? Ameren and EPRI are investigating and testing the company’s PredictiveGrid™ platform for time-series data management and analytics to get a better view into the distribution system. More specifically, this project aimed to develop two related use cases—phase identification and secondary modeling using AMI and feeder data—to run on PingThings’ platform. The overall cost, development experience, time to value, and performance of the execution of the analytic will be compared with a parallel effort working with native Amazon AWS tools.

Recurve – hosted by Ameren

How can a utility use advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) data to identify the best fit opportunities in energy efficiency and demand response for its customers and tune energy efficiency programs, products, and services to make them more effective? This demonstration is applying Recurve’s modeling capabilities to an existing dataset of Ameren’s Illinois operating unit to identify the most effective incentives for potential energy savings among its customers. The team also is focusing on the impact of COVID-19 to Ameren’s small business customers, and what Ameren Energy Efficiency can do to assist.

RWI Synthetics – hosted by EPRI

Among the most daunting challenges facing utilities is predicting and dealing with the impacts of natural disasters. Compounding this challenge is the prospect of a “dual event” in which a natural disaster (or preemptive countermeasures thereof) occurs during a public health pandemic. Simulating the impacts of such a dual event at the scale of a city district –a complex physical system with immense infrastructure and human dynamics within that system –is a modeling conundrum. RWI has been applying its artificial intelligence (AI) modeling sophistication to simulate the impacts of a dual event on people, utility infrastructure, and community infrastructure in a 15 square mile district in the Phoenix/Tempe metro area served by Salt River Project (SRP). For this proof-of-concept, RWI has been simulating how dual events can stress critical infrastructures and expose vulnerable people in the community. RWI’s novel approach features geospatial visualizations that can inform utility planning.

Sharc Energy Systems - Hosted by Southern California Edison, American Electric Power, Ameren, Consolidated Edison, and the Tennessee Valley Authority

An average person uses 60 gallons of water per day, 50% of which is heated and goes down the drain. Sharc Energy aims to capture this wasted heat and recycle it. Sharc Energy’s Piranha product line is a self-contained central heat pump system that uses a specifically designed direct expansion heat exchanger to extract thermal energy from a building’s wastewater for domestic hot water production. By capturing and reusing this waste heat, the heat pump operates at high efficiencies of more than 5.0 COP. The goal of the project was to demonstrate the performance of this new heat recovery heat pump with beneficial air conditioning to quantify the overall energy savings and the associated GHG reduction. The project occurred in North Vancouver, British Columbia, at a 60-unit apartment complex. To date, the Piranha HC has been successfully running for three months and has demonstrated the capacity to completely offset the natural gas boilers. The next steps for this technology are further demonstrations with an independent evaluation to quantify the performance of this technology over a longer period. Additionally, it would be beneficial to explore different types of sites such as larger apartment buildings, laundromats, and commercial kitchens.

Switched Source – Hosted by EPRI

Electric utilities have always experienced some level of phase imbalance due to a specific feeder configuration and routinely deploy mitigation measures (e.g. line regulators or customer re-phasing) to address problematic feeders. Moreover, this issue can be exacerbated with large penetration of rooftop solar coming onto the grid. The EPRI team is working with Switched Source to perform modeling and simulation using the company’s Phase-EQ technology to reduce phase imbalance on actual distribution feeders provided by utility collaborators. This bolt-on, power electronics-based solution can be installed at feeder mid-points or substations and can eliminate the need to repeatedly balance the feeder to solve imbalance issues. Based on commercial, off-the-shelf power electronic components, the solution allows for the dynamic balancing of phases and can increase the circuit’s capacity to support distributed generation. This dynamic balancing capability can also improve the performance of industrial 3-phase equipment sensitive to power quality issues. In addition to the simulation and modeling effort, this industry/EPRI/utility collaboration investigated different value streams for the deployment of the device through a cost-benefit analysis.