Data Analysis and Intelligent Decision Technology in the Energy IndustryView this Special Issue
A Real-Time Implementation of Air Audit System for Compressors towards Energy Conservation: An Industrial Case Study
The air audit system is designed for enabling sales engineers to capture customer’s requirement of the compressed air system. This system is required to create quick audit solution to support customers by estimating air consumption. It also educates the customers with potential improvement areas after understanding their existing demand pattern. At present, many industries and manufacturers are using third-party air audit tools. Many leading manufacturers of air compressors in accordance with the core values of the company intend to develop their own air audit system. The problem statement is to understand the air demand pattern with respect to flow and pressure, capture the existing power consumption details, and select the optimum compressor size based on the demand pattern. The air audit methodology involves data logging process, data transfer, and report generation. The data logging process includes measuring current, voltage, and true power of each compressor, tank pressure with logging frequency of minimum 5s, and data logging period of minimum seven days. The data will be transmitted to a mobile or tab over WiFi. A mobile GUI (graphical user interface) will be developed to generate the report and graph. All received data will be stored in a cloud database. The paper presents a proof of concept for the air audit system by tapping signals from the existing power quality analyzer, feeding it to a microcontroller, processing it, performing data logging, transferring the bulk data through WiFi upon request to the company or consumer, graphically presenting the data through a mobile app, and report generation. This work can also be extended by developing a battery-operated standalone module for air auditing which will be provided for the sales engineer and the customers. The overall need for the study is to conduct air audit in an industry indigenously without involving the third party. With aid of advanced tools and applications as described in the paper, the proposed system will certainly help the industries to understand the need and nuances of air audit system for compressors.
A compressor is basically a mechanical device that simply reduces the volume of air by increasing its pressure. Compressed air has a lot of applications such as refrigeration, air tools, energy storage, air brakes, and underwater breathing apparatus. Like any machine, a compressor requires electrical energy to work. Monitoring the power consumption and the pressure of the compressor is the main objective of this paper. An air audit is a review of an operation’s use of compressed air. The audit evaluates both the generation and distribution of compressed air. It assesses a compressed air system and identifies areas of inefficiency with corresponding cost savings, if rectified.
A sales engineer can always only predict the requirements of the customer, but he cannot estimate it. An air audit system should be designed for enabling sales engineers to capture customer’s requirement of the compressed air system. The air audit system is required so that it can create quick audit solution to support customers with estimating air consumption. It also has the potential to educate the customers with identifying the improvement areas after understanding their existing demand pattern. There are a few outcomes that should be met using the air audit system. The most important one is to understand the air demand pattern with respect to flow and pressure. The flow is calculated indirectly through power which is in kW. Then, the existing power consumption details and pressure data must be captured. The customer should be able to select the optimum compressor size based on the demand. The process involved in data handling is given as follows:(1)Data logging process:(a)Measure current, voltage, and true power of each air compressor and log the data(b)Tank pressure to be logged in a separate logger mounted in an air receiver(c)Logging frequency (5 s–1 min) and logging period (24 hr–168 hr) are configurable(2)Data transfer:(a)End device to be communicated to cloud through a mobile or tab (tablet)(b)The mobile will receive the data from the logger through an app over WiFi(3)Report generation:(a)Mobile GUI to be developed for graph and report generation(b)All the received data to be stored in a cloud database(c)Web UI to be developed to generate report from the database and view the graph
The first and foremost thing in developing the air audit system is the power measurement module. A detailed energy audit considering air conditioners was performed in . In this paper, the authors assessed that 60–65% of the total energy consumption in commercial areas is accounted with air conditioners. Air flow rate and the difference in enthalpy across the coils of the evaporator are evaluated to show the performance of the air conditioners. An energy audit for the residential building is conducted in  involving majority of the electrical loads. It is observed that 24% of the total energy consumption of the building is from the air conditioners. The authors have also made an attempt to provide an energy-efficient air conditioner without conciliation and comfort for humans.
The selection of microprocessor for the air audit system was made by referring to . A detailed study on the MSP432 processor with respect to power consumption was presented in the paper. Since the module is battery operated, the selection of optimized microcontroller is very essential. Brief details of the test-bed employed at Texas Instruments (TIs) as well as TI’s energy trace technology are reviewed in paper . A detailed procedure involved in the selection and sizing of batteries is provided in . Lithium-ion batteries were selected due to their high charge density and minimum memory effect.
A mobile app-based harmonic distortion analyzer was developed in . Transferring the logged data over WiFi to a mobile app is explained. The authors have also implemented the plotting and report generation features, which are some of the important features to be incorporated in an air audit system.
The paper  provides a brief introduction to the programming of IDEs (integrated development environments) such as Code Composer Studio and Energia. The MSP432’s operating parameters, as well as how to interface with peripherals, are also discussed. It also provided an insight on the memory, timing, power management, and communication systems of the microcontroller. A case study on energy audit in a building is given in  along with the best practices for various electrical loads. The extensive critiques given in the literature gives various aspects that are to be implemented into the air audit system. The only challenge that lies ahead is to incorporate all these features into a single module, so that it meets the desired conditions while using it as an air audit system. As the module is to be used in an industry, the design must meet all the industrial standards [8, 9].
The paper is organized as follows: Section 2 presents the power measurement; Section 3 exhibits the component section; Section 4 illustrates the software design layout and experimental results; discussions and final conclusions are given in Sections 5 and 6, respectively.
2. Power Measurement in the Air Audit System
Power measurement involves sensing the voltage and current at every instant and feeding it to the microprocessor for computation [10, 11]. The microprocessor returns the real power, power factor, and various other power parameters. However, before developing an energy meter, it must be understood that the primary objective is air auditing. A compressor is a three-phase device, but we cannot design a 3-phase energy meter for auditing because it increases the cost per unit. A compromise must be made between accuracy and cost. To estimate the accuracy, a comparative study of different wattmeter methods is made using simulation software Multisim.
The three wattmeter method is the most suitable method to compute power in a compressor. As mentioned earlier, it increases the overall per unit cost of the air audit system. This leaves with 2 choices: a two wattmeter method and a single wattmeter method. The Multisim circuit schematic for the two wattmeter method is designed using three voltage sources connected in star and three RL (resistive-inductive) loads connected in delta and is shown in Figure 1. A slight imbalance in source and load is provided to take care of the practical imbalances.
The wattmeter reading of the circuit can be viewed by opening the wattmeter, as shown in Figure 2. The sum of the two watt meters gives the actual power consumption.
The total power consumed is 11.98 kW according to the simulation. The power factor (PF) can be calculated using the formula, PF = cos(, only if the system is balanced. Since the compressor is mostly unbalanced, a separate power factor measurement circuit is required. The wattmeter readings of the three wattmeters are shown in Figure 3. The total power consumed is 11.97 kW using the three wattmeter method, which verifies the accuracy of real power in the two wattmeter method, but shows large error in power factor measurement. Even though the accuracy of real power is good, we cannot go for two wattmeter because the cost per unit is still high. Furthermore, a single wattmeter can be connected to any one of the phases. Therefore, with a little compromise in accuracy, we can get fairly good results using the single wattmeter method. The Multisim circuit schematic with three individual wattmeters connected to every phase is shown in Figure 4.
The actual rating of the compressor and that while using single wattmeter are analyzed for each phase. Even though this method also requires power factor measurement circuits, the fact that the voltage and current measurement circuits have reduced will cut out the cost significantly. Table 1 provides a concise comparison of the two methods analyzed. The results show that the single wattmeter method is most suitable for air audit application.
The maximum error that occurs in real power measurement in simulations is around 4.06%, where the computation is shown in Table 2. The meter when developed will come under class 4 accuracy, which is shown in Table 3. For an auditing tool, class 5 gives fair results. Therefore, it is decided to go with a single wattmeter method for the air audit system. Table 4 shows the accuracy when the wattmeter is connected in individual phases. The following equation helps in determining the total system error (εS) which is 4.06%:where ƐIT is the instrument transformer error, ƐVP is the voltage probe error, ƐCP is the current probe error, εS is the total system error, ƐM is the meter error, and ƐCE is the computation error.
A power quality analyzer (PQA) that was designed for this specific purpose was analyzed to validate the simulation results. The block diagram of the PQA is shown in Figure 5. The voltage input to the power quality analyzer was given using a 3-phase supply. The derivative of the current probe is coupled to a shunt resistor. The voltage drop across the shunt is taken as the current input. In order to practically test for different loads, the shunt resistor was soldered out and a signal generator was used. Different load conditions were emulated by varying the voltage of the signal generator.
The voltage and current signals from the PQA were tapped and fed into a TI CC3220 microcontroller. The power computation algorithm was implemented in the controller, and the results were verified. The microcontroller was capable of computing real power and power factor and logging the data. The logged data were then transferred to a mobile application over WiFi through the inbuilt WiFi module. The received data were saved as a .CSV file in the internal memory of the mobile phone. The saved data were then used to plot voltage, current, and power factor graphs using Highcharts®.
As per the results, the two wattmeter method is most suitable for power measurement. However, the difference of accuracy between the single wattmeter method and the two wattmeter method is not quite small. Hence, the single wattmeter method is chosen as it was cost-effective. The accuracy of the system is 4.06%, and so the system falls under class 4.
3. Selection of Components for the Proposed System
The block diagram of the proposed air audit system shown in Figure 6 consists of single-phase measurement circuit using a voltage probe and a current transformer-based current probe. The voltage signal and current signal are then conditioned and fed into the microcontroller. Two more signals are fed through the zero crossing detection circuit to compute power factor. Since it is a battery-operated system, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery of 7.4 V powers the entire module. The air audit system also comprises an external real-time clock for obtaining time stamped data. A serial flash is used to log the power and pressure data. The communication is established using an external WiFi module.
3.1. Voltage and Current Probe
A voltage probe with alligator clips is used to sense voltage. Since the maximum voltage that can occur even when connected across line-to-line is less than 600 V, the rating of the voltage probe is selected to be 600 V. The voltage probe from Kyoritsu, KEW 7234, is selected for this application. A split core current transformer-based current probe with a maximum rating of 600 A is used to sense current. Since 600 A is not a standard rating, a 1000 A rated current probe is used. CCT50 from MECO instruments has a rated output of 5 A, and it also can be increased to 10 A, so MECO CCT50 is selected for the air audit system.
3.2. Differential Amplifier
The voltage signal sensed using the probe is stepped down using a potential divider circuit. Then, the minimized form of voltage is fed into an AMC1100 fully differential amplifier and the output is fed to the microcontroller. The key advantage of using AMC1100 is to enable the measurement of the signal with a good accuracy by eliminating the common mode noise.
The differential amplifier must also be able to provide isolation in accordance with UL (Underwriters Laboratories) standards. This process of blocking current flow such that there is no direct conduction path between circuits is often referred to as galvanic isolation. Isolation is necessary to prevent the flow of hazardous voltages between circuits. It also helps in avoiding potential ground loops. Considering these scenarios, AMC1100 (it comes under UL1577) is chosen to be the fully differential amplifier.
3.3. TI Microcontroller
The simple link MSP432P401RIPZ microcontroller is an optimized wireless host MCU (microcontroller unit) with an integrated 16-bit precision ADC (analog-to-digital converter). The MSP (mixed signal processing) processor has a dedicated DSP (digital signal processing) processor which is capable of performing FFT (fast Fourier transform) analysis. The flash memory offered by the MSP432 processor is 256 kB. An external flash is also used to log the real-time data captured by the measurement system. Considering the fact that the microcontroller consumes very low power, it is selected for the air audit system.
3.4. Flash Memory
The application requires logging of at most 7 days of data. The most trivial data format that could be used to log data is “HHMMSS,VVV,III.I,0.PF.” The minimum logging interval that is required is 2 seconds. However, the flash is selected such that it can log at least every 2 second data for the data format mentioned above. The string occupies 21 bytes. To log every 2 second data for 7 days, memory space for 302400 strings should be available. This requires 6.05 Mb of memory. Hence, a 64 Mbit flash (8 Mb) is selected. The flash memory is connected to the microcontroller using SPI protocol.
3.5. WiFi Communication
The WiFi module is based on the standard 802.11 b/g/n and is mostly in sleep mode. During every loop of program, it checks for the connectivity for particular WiFi access points. When it gets connected to those particular access points, it starts to monitor client requests. If any client request matches the predefined code, the bulk of the logged data is transferred to the mobile app from where the request occurs.
The microcontroller and almost every other component work at 3.3 V. The only component which requires a 5 V supply is the isolated differential amplifier. The high side of AMC1100 requires a 5 V supply. Therefore, the battery must provide greater than 5 V. The battery must also be rechargeable. The total power consumption of the hardware is analyzed, as in Table 5. Thus, Li-ion is the obvious choice considering its high energy density and almost zero memory effect. A Li-ion battery typically provides 3.6-3.7 V. Two 18650 Li-ion batteries with required mAh power the air audit system [12–14].
4. Software Design and Layout
The hardware schematic design is done using xDX Designer from Mentor Graphics. The MSP432 processor is programmed using Energia IDE, which is an open-source electronics prototyping platform for TI products.
4.1. xDX Designer
The xDX designer makes available an entire schematic design elucidation for design formation, description, and reprocess. It also provides all necessary things required for designing circuits. The home page of the xDX designer is shown in Figure 7.
The circuit schematic is drawn in xDX Designer, and then it is converted into PCB using the PADS package from Mentor Graphics. The software has provisions for netlist and Bill of Materials generation. A part of the schematic of the power quality analyzer is shown in Figure 8.
The printed circuit board (PCB) of the 3-phase power quality analyzer using which the proof of concept was verified is shown in Figure 9.
4.2. Energia IDE
Energia, which is an open-source IDE for programming TI products, was used in this project. The editor window is shown in Figure 10.
The code can be written in simple embedded C language and can be compiled to a specific TI board by selecting it. Then, it is dumped into the microcontroller using its serial port. There is also good support for this platform as developers are bringing in new libraries for specific boards every day. xDX Designer is mostly used in industries for precision embedded drawing. Since it is a piece of paid software, the learning process was not simple. On the other hand, Energia was open source and similar to the Arduino environment. Working with Energia was quite easy due to the availability of support from developers.
5. Application Development
A mobile application was designed using MIT App Inventor to receive the logged data to the mobile phone over WiFi. The hardware unit consists of a Cypress WiFi module for communicating. The opening screen of the app is shown in Figure 11.
The “Enter IP (Internet Protocol) address here” text box can be directly typed in or the dropdown button can be clicked to open a list of already saved IP addresses. The connected status text box indicates if the phone is connected to the IP address entered in the IP text box. The text boxes indicating voltage, current, etc., are instantaneous, and update time can be configured. The list of saved addresses used at the time of development is given in Figure 12.
When the “Plot Graph” button is pressed, the browser is opened and the line graph for root mean square (RMS) voltage, RMS current, and power factor is displayed. Provisions for opening the saved file are also given within the app. When the “Open File” button is pressed, an external application for opening .CSV files is launched. The file is saved in the internal memory of the mobile phone. The file can also be deleted from within the app using the “Delete File” button. The “About” button opens a page which instructs how to use the app, and the “Exit” button is used to close the app without crashing. The app screen after receiving a dataset is shown in Figure 13. An example of Highcharts® line graph is shown in Figure 14. The mobile application was developed, which captures the real-time power measurement data, and it also displays the data in the mobile app user interface. The data are stored along with its time stamp. These huge data are stored in the form of .CSV file. The data in .CSV files are used for report generation and plotting of interactive charts, which help us to monitor the data remotely .
Furthermore, for the air quality auditing, few methods such as autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA), support vector machine (SVM), random forest (RF), and logistic regression (LR) are elucidated in . A data fusion method for indoor air quality monitoring is experimented in . 5G modeling , participatory method , and Internet of Things sensing  are the topologies which have also been considered for the air quality audit. These methods are not intended for compressors which is the major scope of this paper.
In this paper, a thorough understanding of drawing the circuit schematic for PCB development was obtained. The understanding towards selection of components for a particular application was obtained while working in the air audit system. A proof of concept for the air audit system using the already existing power quality analyzer and evaluation boards is implemented. A mobile application was also developed using MIT App Inventor for displaying the logger data in a mobile phone. The data were also pictorially analyzed in the form of graphs using Highcharts®. An attempt has been made in developing a complete standalone module for the air audit system considering lot of features, such as power consumption, flexibility, and accuracy. The hardware design process is constantly improved depending on the industrial standards and innovative ideas. The overall objective is to bring this module as a product in the market through which customers or sales engineers can be able to analyze the compressors.
The required research data can be obtained from the corresponding author upon request.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
B. Koc, D. Sarkar, H. Kocak, and Z. Arnavut, “A study of power consumption on MSP432 family of microcontrollers for lossless data compression,” in Proceedings of the 2015 12th International Conference on High-capacity Optical Networks and Enabling/Emerging Technologies (HONET), Islamabad, Pakistan, December 2015.View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
V. Vikas and C. Pranesh, Mobile App Based Harmonic Distortion Analyzer for Power Quality Assessment”, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering-, Coimbatore, India, April 2017, Thesis.
D. Dang, D. J. Pack, and S. F. Barrett, “MSP432 operating parameters and interfacing,” Embedded Systems Design with the Texas Instruments MSP432 32-bit Processor, Springer International Publishing, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 93–189, 2017.View at: Google Scholar
H. K. Wong and C. K. Lee, “Application of energy audit in building and a case study,” IEEE 2nd International Conference on Advances in Power System Control, Operation and Management, Hong Kong, pp. 977–981, December 1993.View at: Google Scholar
P. Geno, “A review about vector group connections in transformers,” International Journal of Advancements in Technology, vol. 2, no. No. 2, 2011.View at: Google Scholar
M. A. Ei-Kady and A. M. Shaalan, “Impact of load management and energy conservation strategies on the environment and operating practices of power systems,” in Proceedings of The 33 rd Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, IECEC), Colorado, USA, 1998.View at: Google Scholar
“IEEE recommended practice for installation design and installation of large lead storage batteries for generating stations and substations,” IEEE Std, vol. PAS-93, 1974.View at: Google Scholar
Handbook of Secondary Storage Batteries and Charge Regulators in Photovoltaic Systems, Exide Management and Technology Company, Alburquerque, NM, 1981.