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The Energy DataBus

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Screen capture of the Energy DataBus's dashboards.

Register for free download and install at your organization.

As part of its ongoing mission to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has created the Energy DataBus—a system for organizations to store and process their energy data (or any time-series data). This is a special system that allows NREL to conduct energy informatics (EI) research and development, while delivering this research to the industry in the form of plug-ins to DataBus. Organizations that have DataBus can use these plug-ins for their own energy data research.

DataBus is part of NREL's portfolio of EI projects and was developed to be a free software solution that collects massive amounts of energy-related data at the one-second interval, stores it in a massive scalable database, and turns it into useful information. This database can scale down to one node or easily up to thousands of nodes fitting any organization's needs.

With the increase in energy system instrumentation, operators know more about the real-time performance of their energy systems than ever. However, applying this information to more efficiently operate, design, and maintain these energy systems is not easy or straightforward. Even after the data from various systems has been collected and aggregated at a single location, it may not be clear how to interpret and make decisions using this information. Obtaining quality data is not just a matter of collecting, storing, and accessing; to be useful and informative, the data needs to be structured, cleaned, aggregated, and then visualized to allow it to be explored in a variety of useful ways.

For Community Members

You can now access Energy Databus Partners to help you install, find support, install controls, configure controls and much more. Please check our Energy Databus Partners page to discover other partners as they sign up.

Structured

The Energy DataBus supports multiple tools to integrate and enrich the structure of datasets. For example, disparate data sources can be processed and combined into a single high-quality dataset by uploading separate tables into the Energy DataBus, querying them with a single SQL query, pulling those apart, and reassembling them to integrate their schemas. The result is a new table created through integration of columns that are in separate databases and different schemas.

Cleaned

Datasets often include missing or false values that make the process of working with the data more complicated and can causes errors in analysis and the programs that read the data. The Energy DataBus offers a number of solutions for cleaning datasets of these issues. While there is no one type of technique or algorithm that solves all of the dataset issues, the Energy DataBus deals with missing data through either interpolation or explicitly annotating the data as non-existent. The data can be interpolated using splines or it can be predicted using correlation models with other streams of data.

Aggregated

Energy systems are being integrated to a greater degree to improve system-wide efficiency. Optimizing such a system requires that data from each component or sub-system be aggregated. However these systems usually have different metadata schemas and encode their data in different formats. To overcome these differences, the Energy DataBus employs "Object Relationship Mapping" software called PlayORM, which provides an object-oriented view of all data, easing integration between datasets. These separate systems are also often unsynchronized and collect data at different granularities. The Energy DataBus uses a mix of interpolation techniques to align and aggregate these data streams.

Visualized

Once data is structured, cleaned, and aggregated, it can be explored in numerous ways. The Energy DataBus provides flexible visualization tools that can be custom configured by decision makers. In this way, the Energy DataBus seeks to provide a general capability that can be specialized for particular sites and applications.

Register for a Demo

Screen capture of the Energy DataBus's dashboards.

You can demo and try the free Energy Databus or download and install by registering.

Free Software for Open-Source Development

The Energy DataBus uses open-source software, which not only saves the high cost of licensed software, but also gives users an opportunity to collaborate with the software developer community. Because the software is open, users can customize it to meet their specific needs and benefit from the continuous improvement by the community of users. The Energy DataBus software is now available on the open-source website, GitHub.

The value of a platform like the Energy DataBus is in its adoption. The greater the adoption rate, the greater the generative value for all that use the platform. It is for this reason that NREL is releasing this software for free and helping to seed this technology in industry. Please contact us at DataBus@nrel.gov if you would like a technology demonstration or to discuss the use of the Energy DataBus for your organization.

For Community Members

You can now access Energy Databus Partners to help you install Databus, find support to maintain Databus, install controls that work with Databus, configure controls and much more. Please check our Databus Partners page to discover other partners as they sign up.

In addition, Buffalo Software posted Energy Databus documentation.

For Partners

You can sign up to be a partner and directly offer services around Databus or offer services around controls. Also, feel free to collaborate with other partners to offer a complete solution to the Databus community members or your current clientele. You can register to be a partner of the Energy Databus by sending an email to databus@nrel.gov. Partner lists are displayed in the order that partners signed up, sign up early so community members see your company first.

Additional Information

For additional information about the Energy DataBus and how it is being used, visit NREL's Continuum Magazine or read the recent press release.