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OERC Seminar: The internet of electric water heaters

Presenter: Assoc Prof MJ (Thinus) Booysen

Electrical & Electronic Engineering Department at Stellenbosch University
A founder of Bridgiot, and co-creator of Geasy & Count Dropula

Thinus is Associate Professor at the E&E Engineering Department at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He has ten years’ experience in the aerospace and automotive industries with companies that include SunSpace, Rolls-Royce, Boeing, BMW, and Jaguar Land Rover. His research is on the Internet of Things, with a focus on Smart Water and Electricity metering and Intelligent Transport Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. He is also a founder of Bridgiot (, and creator of Geasy and Count Dropula.

Abstract: Household water heaters are ubiquitous, yet mostly hidden from view and tend to be boring and dumb devices we do not think about.

However, they are energy hungry, both in terms of load (kW) and energy (kWh). Their capacitive nature allows them to store energy for prolonged periods, making them well suited to scheduled heating control for both reduction in energy (and CO2) converted for heating, and suited for load shifting to reduce the impact on the grid.

Although ripple control has been around for decades, the advent of pervasive bi-directional wirelines communications, low-cost controllers, and cloud computing have opened a new chapter on intelligent control of electric water heaters as part of the so-called Internet of Things.

Towards exploiting this potential, this talk will explore real-time monitoring and control of a field deployments of water heaters to balance the pulling forces of reduced load on the grid, reduced electrical energy used for water heating, and the oft-neglected user comfort. Some converted water heater controllers have also been used in a water saving campaign at schools, of which some behavioural change results will be presented. Finally, the results will be discussed from a study on the prevalence of Legionella and its potential links to TB.

More information:

The Smart Water Meter Challenge


Date Tuesday, 19 June 2018
Time 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Audience Public
Event Category Research Events
Event Type Open Seminar
LocationSeminar Room, Centre for Sustainability, 563 Castle St (for Seminar and workshop)

The Seminar will be live streamed and recorded for those who cannot get to the venue. :
CostFree and open to public

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