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Smart Anything Everywhere

Cyber-Physical Systems Engineering Labs is part of the Smart Anything Everywhere initiative.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 644400.

Energy and Load Management in Process Technology Using IEC 61499

Problem and solution

In many production processes the energy consumption, especially electric current / power peaks, have a significant impact on the pricing conditions in the contracts with electricity suppliers. To prevent these peaks, and therefore reduce production costs, an energy load management system is required which automatically turns on and off energy consuming devices, dependent on the available energy, the task priority and the required energy amount. Such a system is especially useful for the numerous process industries, which not only consume energy but also are able to produce their own energy. For example, potato processing factories or breweries produce organic residuals, which can be used to produce biogas. This biogas can then be used in combined heat and power units to produce electricity and thermal energy, providing part of the factories own energy demand.

Within the experiment a prototype solution for a new energy load management concept was developed in which the Design Centre's technology Eclipse 4diac was applied to equip pumps and stirrers with an own control logic implemented in 4diac. This enables those intelligent devices to decide within a distributed network on the optimal times to be switched on and off, in order to ensure biological process stability and low peak electricity demands.

How did CPSE Labs Help?

For SME Awite Bioenergie GmbH, the management and the realization of research activities besides the daily business is a challenge. CPSE Labs provided the opportunity to evaluate a standardized modelling and engineering environment for distributed applications in a safe environment, not provided by industrial projects. By realizing a prototype for such a new energy load management concept, according to the IEC 61499 standard, a unique selling point for customers can be provided, which already request standardized solutions. Design Center Germany South supported this project in terms of knowledge and technology transfer for IEC 61499 and its open source implementation Eclipse 4diac, as well as consulting for the development of a demonstrator unit. Within this project Awite evaluated and contributed to Eclipse 4diac, an open source IEC 61499 implementation. Awite will further follow Eclipse 4diac and contribute to its development, and plans to apply the technology in future projects.


Biogas plants are producers and consumers of energy – both electrical and thermal. The biogas process is a biological process and thus requires constant monitoring and surveillance as well as control of many parameters at the same time. Finding an optimal solution to ensure biological process stability and at the same time reducing electricity costs for the whole production process can help to demonstrate the advantages of using biogas as a clean, renewable energy source. For renewable energy suppliers, energy load management is especially relevant as it has a direct influence on the efficiency of the production process and hence on the environmental impact of the energy generation.

The concepts of load management are however not limited to the example of biogas plants and renewable energy suppliers, it can be transferred to any industrial application which allows a (limited) control of the operation times of large electricity consumers. The implementation of the load management concepts not only provides additional value for Awite's current customers but also able to attract new customers besides the biogas sector, which are interested in the integration of load management technologies within their processes.

Moreover, as part of the experiment, Awite extended the MQTT interface of their own product AWIcontrol, which will be the basis of a new visualization system of Awite's gas analysis devices.


For demonstration purposes, a model of a biogas plant was constructed in the size of a europallet. It can be operated by a touch screen and illustrates the energy load management algorithm.

biogas plant demonstrator

A video was produced for demonstration, and contributed to the Eclipse 4diac YouTube channel. An additional communication layer was programmed for the Eclipse 4diac runtime environment, which supports its connection to other automation modules that are capable of using JSON objects together with MQTT. Furthermore several function blocks were developed, which can also be used for future projects. A power scheduler algorithm was developed and implemented into the Eclipse 4diac runtime environment. An actuator for industrial process automation was developed.

Design centre

This experiment is supported by our Germany South design centre

Germany South design centre

Technology platforms

4DIAC Logo


Awite Logo


1st Oct 2015 - 30th Nov 2016
Funded under: CPSE Labs Call 1