High energy bills could soon be a thing of the past if a City, University of London student gets his way.
Cen Zhao, 21, a BEng Telecommunications student, is developing a control system for central heating which will bring the cheapest method of heating water into use at different times of the day.
His project may also contribute to bringing down global warming.
With solar power being considered as the main source of energy by Zhao over the likes of gas, he hopes that his system will help people to stop using electricity during the day, to keep bills lower.
The system will also keep a record of the costs incurred and the savings made.
“If we can minimize the costs of the product, not only will it be economical for all who use it, it will also improve the efficiency of the system too,” said Zhao.
He said: “Through researching into the specification of the entire system, I do know that the PIC microcontroller (a single chip computer) can control elements like the temperature or time. Plus, the digital and analogue electronics knowledge I have could be used for the hardware design, and programming language such as C++ or J for the software design."
Yet, with household bills appearing to rise each year, and with recent findings revealing that in the last year the average water bill has risen by 5.8 per cent, electricity by 5 per cent and gas by 13 per cent, is Zhao’s work too little too late?
“One man may not make a great contribution to protect the environment, but if we do it together, our Earth will become much better,” said Zhao.
David Styles, industrial tutor in the School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences said: “As pressure increases to make homes more energy efficient, more sophisticated methods of monitoring and controlling domestic heating systems are needed. Cen will have to research a wide range of technologies to design a practical system.
“I hope that Cen enjoys the challenges that face all students embarking on their final-year dissertation. It is generally the first time they encounter real-world problems to solve, where the solutions are not conveniently listed at the back of some textbook. An engineer has to solve these types of problems as part of his everyday life, so devising projects to allow students to experience this is vital.”
Written by Stefan Marseglia, final year BA (Hons) Journalism with Sociology student, City, University London.