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Introducing the PRODUCT SHOWCASE Smart metering market and trend Without exception, a global trend of digitalization is percolating into the metering industry. As metering is paired with smart grid systems, the trend is being accelerated. The metering industry is facing great market demand, not only to digitalize existing analogue meters, but also to upgrade the smart metering system which is equipped with communication modules. With advanced communication technology, North American and European manufacturers are leading the smart metering market which is spreading faster than anyone can imagine. According to IHS Research (World Market Reports, 2013 Edition), the global number of meter units (including existing analogue meters) is 28 billion and the current digitalization level is only about 12%, which means that the majority of the market still remains untouched. Smart metering systems require a variety of sensing technologies for accurate metering under many different environmental conditions; communication technology to transmit collected data; and a high performance battery to enable the technology to operate for 10 to 20 years. This is especially the case for water and gas meters which operate without AC power, and Core factors for battery design mostly run on battery power. Given this, a deep understanding and exact selection of battery solution is essential. Vitzrocell market development and technical requirements in smart water and gas meters Vitzrocell with its Tekcell brand entered the water and gas metering industry in early 2000, and has been expanding its market to the rest of the world from its first business centers in North America and Europe ever since. Table 1 is a summary of meter power requirements and Vitzrocell’s solution for water and gas metering. When selecting a battery, the most important factor to consider is the type of communication technology being used. The most common communication technologies used in the market are 169~900MHz and ZigBee and these require different discharge currents, ranging from tens of mA to 2A. Even with a high ampere rating, given that the meter runs for a very short period of time, the energy required from communication is below 0.4AS (less than 1F). The Vitzrocell EDLC hybrid solution is therefore most suitable for smart metering. An additional factor that deserves consideration is valve control technology. For this reason, it’s an integral part of electrical design that could minimize the drive energy. Pulse Requirements Introduction of the Vitzrocell hybrid solution for smart water and gas meters Generally speaking, a Li-SOCl2 (Lithium Thionyl Chloride) battery is a nearly perfect solution for long-term operation in smart metering due to its high energy density and low self-discharge rate. However the passivation characteristic that leads to limited output under high pulse discharging conditions prevents it from being an independent solution. To complement the limitation, the recommendation is to connect the Li-SOCl2 battery to a rechargeable high power output in parallel, creating a hybrid battery solution. Figure 1 is a Ragone Chart (energy and power density) that indicates positioning of different solutions including Vitzrocell’s Li-SOCl2 battery in parallel connection to high power EDLC as a hybrid solution. The yellow shaded area demonstrates the power and energy range required from communication pulses. Even though the pulse output is extensive, its energy is within the coverable range of EDLC. Considering these technical requirements, Vitzrocell’s Li-SOCl2 with high performance EDLC is the most suitable solution that could supply stable power over 20 years under wide temperature ranges for smart metering applications. Recommended Power Solutions Current Valve Control -169~900MHz -2.4GHz(ZigBee) ≤2A ≤0.4AS(< 1F) Bobbin + ≤5F EDLC GSM/GPRS RF Communication Energy ≤500mA(Peak 2A) ≤11AS(< 8F) Bobbin (or Spiral) + ≤12/25F EDLC ≤1.4A ≤3.6AS(< 4F) Bobbin + ≤5/12F EDLC Table 1. Summary of technical requirements and power solutions from Vitzrocell market experience 30 METERING INTERNATIONAL ISSUE – 2 | 2015