VERBUND Innovation Challenge

VERBUND is interested in a creative solution for three different formulated tasks (challenges). Innovative companies have the opportunity to participate in the Innovation Challenge by developing innovative solution approaches for one or more of the challenges.

Your application should include the following documents: Company profile, pitch deck (if available), description of the solution approach. The submitted documents will be evaluated by a jury according to uniform criteria. For each of the three challenges, the jury will select three finalists who will take part in a Pitching Day in Vienna and present their solutions there. Then a winner will be selected for each challenge.

The three winners and their products will be presented at the VERBUND energy conference energy2050 in Fuschl am See in September 2017. After this, options for longer-term cooperation will be evaluated.

The prizes for the three winning teams
• Equity-free prize money in the amount of EUR 8,000
• Inclusion in the VERBUND partner and supplier ecosystem
• Inclusion in VERBUND PR activities
• Possibility of future shares or an investment
• Participation in the energy2050 conference incl. travel expenses and accomodation

The schedule
Applications at
Time period for applications: May 22 to July 9, 2017
Pitching Day for three finalists per challenge: July 21, 2017
Presentation of the winners at the energy2050 conference in Fuschl: September 27 to 29, 2017

Challenge 1: Neural networks in power plants

The company
VERBUND is Austria’s leading electricity company and one of Europe’s largest hydropower electricity producers. VERBUND Hydro Power operates the group’s hydro- and wind power portfolio efficiently and at the same time protects humans, nature and the climate.

The Challenge
VERBUND is seeking out start-ups and innovative companies with solutions for the analysis of telecommunicated measurement data and predicting the performance of dams.
Measurement systems for dams typically constantly monitor and telecommunicate outward parameters which influence the dam performance, such as the water level, air and concrete temperatures, as well as the dam’s corresponding reaction or performance. Previous prognosis models for the performance of dams have been limited to few measurement values such as deformations, and are based on the a priori determination of correlations, which are adjusted to the measurement data by means of scaling factors and linear regressions.
The sought-for solutions include independent detection of connections between input data (and their chronological sequence) and measurement data at the dams, such as seepage amounts at fill dams or deformation measurements at concrete dams, and generating prognoses. It should be noted that the respective reactions may be immediate or delayed, as well as either reversible or irreversible.

Solutions which can clearly illustrate the recognised connections, and therefore make a physical interpretation or a comparison with existing physical approaches possible, will be given preference.
VERBUND’s goal is to receive the most accurate prognoses possible with low fluctuation margins, so that it is possible to recognise deviations quickly. Through the independent detection of complex connections, prognoses can be made more easily, or applied to further measurement data, and previously used physical models and assumed connections can be reassessed.

Optional extension:
In the event of deviations from the predicted behaviour, it should be recognised as independently as possible which factor or which connection is responsible for the deviation, which would make it easier to identify the causes.
Real data can be made available to participants for working out their solutions – please request it from!

Challenge 2: Sonification of data from the grid

The company
Austrian Power Grid AG (APG), as the control area manager, operates the Austrian transmission grid, which is part of the Regional Group Continental Europe’s pan-European transmission grid, belonging to the Association of European Transmission Grid Operators (ENTSO-E).
With a route length of 3,430 kilometres, 6,970 kilometres of cables running along them, and 63 substations and switching systems, the APG grid forms the backbone for the domestic power supply. It ensures a trans-regional exchange of electricity between producers and consumers, both within Austria and internationally, and in this way guarantees a stable supply on the distribution networks.

The Challenge

Austrian Power Grid AG (APG) – a 100% subsidiary of VERBUND – is looking for start-ups and innovative companies with solutions for the sonification of large amounts of data, in particular operating data such as load data for power lines, transformers or other network elements from the extra-high voltage grid.
Because the operation of electrical grids is becoming more and more complex, the amount of information and data and the effort required for data analysis are on the rise. As part of the challenge, possibilities should be worked out for translating large amounts of data into an acoustic form and in this way making them perceptible for the human ear. This could open up completely new dimensions for recognising and analysing various influencing factors, or make short-term and long-term system changes acoustically perceivable.

This innovative method could subsequently become a valuable addition to the classic methods of display and analysis.
Option 1: Demonstrate new possibilities in the area of Predictive Maintenance: Make the load status audible / perceptible.

For example, the load for a / for certain network elements (transformer, cables, etc.) is sonified and then acoustically condensed or stretched out. From this, it could potentially be possible to detect patterns for certain critical states, which would lead to quick identification of the situation or the malfunction pattern when it occurs again. Building on this, new maintenance strategies can be deduced.

Option 2: Making the electricity supply in the power grid over a certain space of time acoustically perceptible for the purpose of effective presentations at trade fairs, tours or lectures. This solution could, for example, be brought in as a demonstration to supplement the existing interactive gaming components in the framework of a tour at the info centre of APG’s central control centre.
Participants in the challenge have the liberty to submit solutions for one or both options in the competition.
Real data can be made available to participants for working out their solutions – please request it from!

Challenge 3: Optimising decentralised plants

The company
VERBUND is Austria’s leading electricity company and one of Europe’s largest hydropower electricity producers. In Austria, VERBUND has a market share of around 7 percent of the small customer segment, and in the industrial segment, the company is in the lead with about 20 percent. Along with its subsidiaries and affiliates, VERBUND is active from electricity generation to transport and on to international trade and distribution.
One of the subsidiaries is VERBUND Solutions, which takes care of special fields of innovation and develops services which are based directly with the client.

The Challenge
Objective: In the topic area of decentralisation, a major motivation for purchase decisions across all customer segments lies in pursuing a high degree of independence from the energy market, pertaining both to the energy itself and to the network. VERBUND is highlighting its positioning as a general solutions provider and supporting this customer wish by means of suitable innovative offerings.

In the private customer segment, prosumers in particular should be addressed, who already have their own production facilities in conjunction with the energy sector. For these customers, hard- and software solutions are being sought which would maximise the proportion of self-produced energy used in one’s own household.
In the commercial and industrial sectors, an interruption-free electricity supply is an increasingly important requirement, given the increasing instability in the power grids. Solutions for this problem on the basis of current or future technologies are the focus of interest.

Specific applications:
Maximising own use of the photovoltaic system on a household customer’s roof from an economic point of view
Across-the-board solutions for all trades (algorithms for control, batteries, heating, or also other “virtual” approaches) would be especially interesting.
Evaluation criteria: Acquisition costs or payback period

Small UPS systems (up to 400 kVA) for the business segment
Particularly in established industries, (inflexible) lead-acid batteries are commonly in use at present, which are not suitable for additional applications such as load management etc. The call is for solutions (hard- and software) for the problem area of an interruption-free electricity supply on the basis of flexible technologies (e.g. lithium-ions) which can also cover further fields of application (e.g. load management).


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