OSO Charge water heaters can act as a network of thermal batteries, helping utilities to balance the power grid. “Everyone living in a modern home has a water heater. That’s a lot of thermal energy storage to exploit for the greater good. Our solution reduces both costs and carbon emissions,” says Kim Arild Tandberg, Sales Manager at OSO Energy.
The transition to renewable energy presents various challenges to power grids. Solar energy is only available at certain times and needs to be stored. Wind power varies according to the weather. In addition, a general electrification is ongoing and people are switching to EVs at a rapid rate.
“All of this is taxing the capacity of the grid. Utilities need more flexibility to sustainably handle peak usage amongst consumers,” explains Tandberg.
OSO Energy delivers a water heating system that manages energy usage intelligently.
“We give utilities the flexibility to smoothen peak demand periods when greenhouse gas emissions are highest. During these periods, energy providers must fall back on oil, gas and coal to meet the demand. Thermal energy from our water heaters helps to keep fossil fuels out of the mix,” says Tandberg.
The solution consists of a cloud-connected water heater, a mobile app and APIs to integrate with the grid control systems. Microsoft’s Azure Sphere is installed in every water heater, providing secure, end-to-end connectivity.
With their thermal energy storage capacity, OSO Charge water heaters give utilities peak reduction capabilities. They also provide other benefits, such as enabling utilities to actively manage the fleet of water heaters as distributed energy resources, providing additional assets and redundancy in the energy system, equipping utilities with a mechanism to allow for sharing of benefits with end customers, and offering digital twin simulation for capacity planning to avoid unnecessary investments in the power grid.
OSO Charge water heaters make home dwellers’ lives a little easier as well.
“On the end-user side, our system can adapt to price signals and only heats water when electricity is abundant and cheap. As a result, consumers will save money on peak energy costs, which are rising dramatically in many countries,” says Tandberg.
“They don’t have to change their consumption habits either. They can use their hot water for chores and showers as they are used to,” he adds.
Moreover, the mobile app gives consumers control over their water heaters. For example, they can put their water heater in sleep mode to save energy when on holiday.
“We have prime market conditions for our smart water heaters in 2022 and beyond. Utilities continue to seek solutions for peak shaving, while consumers want lower energy prices amidst rising costs. Right now, in Norway alone, there are 250 000 existing water heaters that can be retrofitted with our high-tech solution,” says Tandberg.
OSO Energy has focused initially on the B2B market, with pilot projects in Norway and Canada. In spring 2022, a B2C version will be launched in Norway. The initial target markets for both versions include the Nordics, the UK and Canada.
OSO Energy is a part of the OSO Hotwater Group, a leading manufacturer of stainless steel water heaters in Europe.