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Engineers propose nanogrids, smarter switches

2/17/2012 05:42 PM EST
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LarryM99
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re: Engineers propose nanogrids, smarter switches
LarryM99   2/21/2012 3:49:41 AM
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I've figured for a while that a distributed power generation system has real advantages over the current centralized model. It has to be a diversified model, though, to achieve the required reliability. Solar doesn't work without sun, and car batteries tend to go with the car when it leaves. Unfortunately, San Diego Gas and Electric responds to this opportunity by trying to penalize it (see http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/jan/19/california-regulators-turn-plans-levy-fee-solar-po/ for the story). Larry M.

DrQuine
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re: Engineers propose nanogrids, smarter switches
DrQuine   2/19/2012 11:38:43 PM
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(regarding Bert22306) No, more like when Hurricane Irene wipes out power for 4 days you use your car to power the household. Sure beats buying and maintaining an expensive generator for intermittent use. Imagine the kilowatt hour cost for emergency generators in household applications. As it is, I used my hybrid and an inverter to power our computers and cell phones (is there anything else?).

Bert22306
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Bert22306   2/19/2012 10:45:10 PM
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You mean, like, I'll let my car idle in the parking lot (or in my garage!?), all day and all night, to provide power for part of my neighborhood? Hmmm. Unlikely.

selinz
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re: Engineers propose nanogrids, smarter switches
selinz   2/18/2012 9:05:21 PM
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The new "phase locked" microinverters on some solar panels provide a workable alternative to having dc energy storage at the home (or microgrid, if you will). They essentially run the electric meter backward. Unfortunately, the solar panel cost is still pretty high compared to electric company rates unless there is a "unique" circumstance (subsidies, high rate tiers, etc.) so the payback period is still in the 10s of years.

goafrit
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goafrit   2/18/2012 5:56:55 PM
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The problem is the production quality. These nano things seem to be giving no value. It is all buzz and no impact. Maybe it is going to change soon.

DrQuine
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re: Engineers propose nanogrids, smarter switches
DrQuine   2/18/2012 5:15:17 AM
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A creative way to safely and automatically connect external (emergency) power into a home has been developed by GenerLink (www.generlink.com). It is approved by some electric utilities, including Connecticut Light & Power and is quickly installed between the house and the power meter. When self generated power is provided, GenerLink disconnects the power grid. [I have no personal business or financial interest in the technology.]

DrQuine
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re: Engineers propose nanogrids, smarter switches
DrQuine   2/18/2012 5:04:14 AM
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The advent of plugin hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) would seem to be an ideal time to implement a cost effective mini-grid to provide emergency power to individual houses. It would be widely adopted by people with disposable income who seek more reliable power for their homes. Once perfected, the approach could be expanded to emerging markets where lower power consumption might even allow a PHEV to power a village rather than a household.

aarunaku
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re: Engineers propose nanogrids, smarter switches
aarunaku   2/17/2012 9:48:05 PM
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This is like the engineer vs. scientist for inventing a writing tool that could be used anywhere. Power saving ideas should not come later for whatever reason. Take an example of a any electronic equipment which is turned off but still running on open circuit transformer losses, it need not be plugged if not in use: or, put a simple switch to stop open circuit losses. Many computers and laptops are left wired with charges still drawing power of some kind. This is like neutrino mass problem.. that less than 1% or 0.001% of missing energy somehow ends up being very big and speculative of its nature! I cannot stop here, one more to quote, why all charging devices have different plug in interface? Can't that be standardized? If the electricity were to come with special cables for power grid, just think how much of mess we would have been by now. We all look like people having a local focus and missing the big picture. Wonder if simple things are fixed first and then we talk about smart nano grid ideas. Lastly, I agree with Bert on DC conversion. Any conversion would lead to loss and you never know when the sub component company building a particular part for the DC conversion goes out of business! We are stuck.

Bert22306
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re: Engineers propose nanogrids, smarter switches
Bert22306   2/17/2012 8:29:33 PM
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Nanogrid, or just plain isolated power generation systems. If the scale is small enough, who needs a "grid" at all? But I did get put off somewhat by this (not the first time) mention of everything going to DC power. I find that wrong, actually. Not only because voltage conversions would now require electronic switching power supplies, instead of simple transformers, but also because all manner of devices, from timing devices to electric motors, and of course power supplies, have come to rely on the AC aspect of power distribution. Obviously, anything can be done. It's just that the notion that DC would save anything is plain wrong. DC power would create all manner of waste, when different voltage levels have to be created, which of course is a given.

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