A team of researchers at Munster Technological University (MTU) has developed a retrofittable energy management platform that enables energy cost savings of about 20% and a similar reduction in CO2 emissions. The O-PENS team plans on spinning out the platform into a startup company later this year and is in talks with potential customers and investors.

Designed to facilitate off-setting of peak load tariffs

The innovative energy management platform, O-PENS (Optimise Predict Energy Saver), is designed to facilitate offsetting of peak load tariffs for commercial, agricultural, and domestic end users and enable energy managers in high-energy-consuming organisations to meet their carbon emissions and energy cost reduction targets. The system incorporates a real-time pricing structure to enable end users to engage with I-SEM (Integrated Single Electricity Market) pricing. 

Dr Conor Lynch, research fellow at Nimbus Research Centre MTU, showcases his research team's innovative system, O-PENS – a retrofittable energy management platform that enables energy cost savings of approximately 20% and a similar reduction in CO2 emissions – at Enterprise Ireland's Big Ideas 2022 competitive pitching event for innovative Irish startups from third level research.

O-PENS is the brainchild of Dr Conor Lynch and his research team at MTU’s Nimbus Research Centre. He said: “Whereas many existing energy management platform systems optimise renewable generators or available energy storage assets for a particular site, O-PENS takes a more holistic approach – developing a grid-connected smart network system encompassing energy market-tracking tariff prediction technologies, used in conjunction with auxiliary battery supply and any customer-own electricity generation assets.

"It then uses AI and machine learning to deliver customers the quintessential energy schedule to optimise their respective energy requirements based on overall cost or CO2 emissions or indeed a blend of the two, which mutually benefits both the end user and the environment."

The development of O-PENS is funded under the Enterprise Ireland commercialisation fund, a national programme that helps entrepreneurial academics and commercial leaders in Ireland’s research system to commercialise new technologies and inventions. O-PENS has been trialled on a number of domestic and commercial sites and has demonstrated significant energy cost and carbon reduction savings for customers.

A fully functioning product

Ronan Coleman, commercialisation specialist at MTU, said: “O-PENS is the result of many years of research by Dr Lynch and his team. It is very rewarding to see what was originally a concept secure the necessary funding support from Enterprise Ireland to turn this concept into reality. The funding enabled the team to develop a fully functioning product which can have a real impact, both from a commercial and societal perspective."

Daithí Power, commercialisation specialist at Enterprise Ireland (EI), said: “EI has a long history of working with researchers in MTU to create high potential startup companies. EI is delighted to support Conor and his team to develop this technology which will ultimately create high skilled Irish jobs, encourage more Irish businesses to install renewable energy and reduce CO2 emissions."

Josette O’Mullane, innovation and enterprise manager at MTU, said: “O-PENS is a great example of the high-level, cutting-edge technology that is being developed and nurtured within MTU’s research, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. 

"As a university that places strong emphasis on sustainability and climate action, we are very proud of Dr Lynch and his team for developing this platform which will help reduce energy bills during the ongoing energy cost crisis and benefit the environment by reducing CO2 emissions.”