Hyperefficient smart metering

Meeting the challenge of high energy usage

When China’s San Fran Electronic Co. Ltd realised that one of the devices designed to reduce power usage is itself a large consumer of power, they decided to do something about it.

The solution that they developed was 11 years in the making, but their hard work has been rewarded as they were named one of five Chinese companies recognised as WWF Climate Solvers earlier this year.

The Climate Solver awards recognise companies which are implementing low carbon, climate resilient development solutions. Since 2012, 14 Chinese companies have been recognised for their innovative technologies.

'WWF sees climate innovation technology such as this as one of the key solutions for phasing out fossil fuels and reducing carbon emissions,” said Sze Ping LO, CEO of WWF-China.

For San Fran Electronic, the challenge was clear: In China electricity meters consume 48 billion KWH of energy every year, which is equivalent to 16.8 million tons of coal. The San Fran solution is a Switching Mode Power Supply (SMPS) programme which converts high voltage to low voltage. The SMPS system will save energy and reduce costs.

The system applies switch power supply technology instead of traditional inefficient linear power supply technology, which enables smart meter power consumption to be reduced to 77% below industry standard. In order to achieve the goal of reducing the overall power consumption, the meter adopts a flyback switch converter program, selects low power consumption components, and makes use of lower power consumption dispatch policy software.

Tests by the State Grid Measuring Centre, Hubei, Chongqing Electric Power Experimental Research Institute and the Metrology Institute in Hubei have proved that the technical performance of the SMPS meters meet the national standard, and that power consumption is greatly reduced. The company has now geared up to produce 10% of the domestic power units, and about 4.3% of the industrial units needed in China each year.

For San Fran Electronic, the future looks bright. The biggest challenge the company faces is the lack of standardisation in intellectual property protection and application across China. A series of national patents have been applied for, but there is still a risk of imitations and intellectual property theft.

“The selection of Chinese Climate Solvers this year proves that we can deliver the same or better service with less energy and other resources as input,” said Stefan Henningsson, senior advisor for WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative. “It is also evident that China now is in the phase of creating better industrial ecosystems for nurturing start-ups and we are very encouraged by the developments that we see happening in the Chinese economy.”