Viewing entries tagged
DC microgrids

Comment

100 Years Later, Edison May Get His Revenge

In the early 1900s Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla battled over which electrical system would power the nation. Edison believed in Direct Current and Tesla was a proponent of Alternating Current. Ulitimately, AC won because it could be transmitted over long distances, while DC power degraded after less than a mile. But recent advancements in DC technology may ultimately reverse that century-old decision.

AC power has its drawbacks. Its extremely high voltages and amperages make it dangerous to handle. The ever-expanding use of semi conductors in most of the appliances and equipment we use today, which only use DC, means AC power must be converted, and that process causes up to a 30% power loss, mostly through heat. In addition, worldwide concern over depleting resources like oil and coal, which are used to create electricity, has industries and governments looking towards renewable sources for power creation, such as solar, wind and biofuels, all of which produce DC.

DC’s ability to run on renewable energy sources is also attractive to facilities that need to operate in “island mode,” independent of the AC grid, in case of a supply failure or for the purpose of energy security. Building systems that incorporate small, self-contained electricity distribution networks known as microgrids are also of interest to governments and especially military installations that worry about terrorist attacks.

The growing DC industry, of which Nextek Power Systems, Inc. is a proud member, has made significant progress in creating equipment and systems that save not only valuable resources, but also energy expenses for the businesses and organizations that use them. A recent Nextek demonstration project at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona showed how DC power could save the Army base in energy costs now, and save millions of dollars in the future by avoiding reconfiguration costs thanks to the DC system’s flexibility compared to AC.  Additionally, because the installation uses renewable energy created at the site, it is not at the mercy of the AC grid for its power.

Past problems with transmission have been solved too, as the recent installation of DC power systems, covering hundreds of miles, have been seen in Europe and China. In the not too distant future DC power may be the dominant mode of electrical transmission, and Thomas Edison may regain his stature as the king of electricity.

Comment

1 Comment

Nextek CEO Helps Make the Case for DC Power

The use of renewable, efficient DC power is rapidly increasing in enterprise locations such as corporate, educational and government campuses, and its future in both commercial and residential applications is bright. Nextek Power Systems CEO Paul Savage (a founding member of the EMerge Alliance®) was among the presenters in a recent webinar on “Direct DC Power Systems for Efficiency and Renewable Energy Integration.” The event was sponsored by the Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Program.

Renewable energy accounted for 14.3 percent of the domestically produced electricity in the United States in the first six months of 2011, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s Electric Power Monthly. Forecasts predict it will grow to more than 20 percent by 2030. Increased residential use could push that figure much higher, and Nextek and the companies it collaborates with are working towards both goals.

Mr. Savage spoke on Nextek’s work to develop standards for the equipment and systems that are emerging for real-world use. To see the slide presentation he offered for the webinar, visit the government’s Energy Efficient Standards web page, and scroll to “Attachments.”

The rationale for greater dependence on DC power is strong. More and more devices, ranging from computers to smart phones to appliances, incorporate semiconductors, which run only on DC power. The increased use of electric vehicles, which can be charged using DC power, adds to that use. The power loss that results from converting AC power from the electrical grid to DC is large, and the production of AC power replies heavily on depleting resources such as oil and coal. However, much DC power can be generated from renewable sources, particularly solar.

For decades, the drawback of DC power has been significant loss over even moderate transmission distances. But with the genesis of microgrid technology—small locations that produce their own power and draw from the grid (or add to it!) only when needed, the advantages of DC become clearer. Add to that advancements in storage technology, and DC power is definitely the wave of the future.

1 Comment

Comment

Microgrid Technology: Recent Improvements Spur Government and Industry to Seek Renewable Energy Solutions

Call it a quiet revolution. Americans have been talking about lessening the nation’s dependence on oil (especially foreign-produced) since the Carter administration, but for many years, there was little advancement towards this goal. Now, recent developments in renewable energy and microgrid technology, and a presidential directive, have prompted many businesses and government agencies to undertake efforts to augment traditional power grid supplies with systems that will both save money and lessen environmental impacts.

The evidence occurs with increasing regularity. In the hospitality industry, one of the most intensive power users in the country, hundreds of hotel sites have opted to develop microgrids that incorporate solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and other technologies to reduce the need for grid power. Glenn Hasak of the Green Lodging News, has listed dozens of them on his site. They range from The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne to the Lova Lava Land Eco-Resort in Hawaii.

Following President Obama’s directive to federal agencies to make $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next two years, Fort Bliss, the country’s biggest military facility, a 1.2-million acre base in West Texas and New Mexico, has awarded a $16 million contract for the construction and operation of a microgrid.

Several other military installations are looking at similar development projects. In addition to cost savings and environmental concerns, microgrid power affords some security from internet-based attacks against power utilities, an increasing concern among cyber security experts. According to the contractor, Johnson Controls, the project is expected to save Fort Bliss $39 million in energy costs over the next 24 years.

Even traditional power utilities are beginning to embrace the concept of microgrids. According to Phil Carson, of intelligentutility.com, “an increase in distributed generation in general—not just renewable energy resources—has driven interest.” Changes to IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) standards in 2011 also helped sway them. The companies are looking to microgrids to increase their potential power production without adding to their infrastructure.

Microgrids are becoming an increasingly popular power solution for companies, agencies and even communities. For more information regarding how a microgrid system could benefit your organization, contact Nextek Power Systems at (877) 24VOLTS or visit us at www.nextekpower.com.

Comment

Comment

CEQ Deputy Director, Gary Guzy, Visits Nextek

As part of a visit to The NextEnergy Center, Council on Environmental Quality Deputy Director, Gary Guzy, stopped by Nextek's Detroit offices to see what innovations in DC microgrids Nextek Power Systems was developing.  He was treated to a facility tour and discussion with Nextek CEO, Paul Savage.

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) coordinates Federal environmental efforts and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environmental policies and initiatives.  The CEQ was established within the Executive Office of the President by Congress as part of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and additional responsibilities were provided by the Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970.

Deputy Director Guzy's role at the CEQ is to ensure that there is a strong scientific and legal basis for our environmental policy; making sure that the nation moves toward a greater reliance on clean energy and to increase energy security; combating global warming while growing the green economy; providing protection for public health and the environment; and protecting and restoring our great ecosystems.

Comment

Comment

Big News and Ideas at LIGHTFAIR 2011

The EMerge Alliance, an open industry association leading the rapid adoption of safe direct-current (DC) power distribution standards for commercial buildings, announced at LIGHTFAIR 2011 that 22 additional products have been Registered as compliant with the EMerge Alliance and 16 new members have joined the organization.  Nextek is a founding member of the EMerge Alliance and was recently at LIGHTFAIR 2011 for their DC Standard for Occupied Space Informational Session in front of a full house.  Click here to view the entire Power Point presentation.  Our own Paul Savage and Doug Hamborsky were there to discuss our full line of EMerge Alliance Registered products  -- 18 products in all!Nextek at EMerge Alliance Session, LIGHTFAIR 2011

Comment

Comment

Power to the People!

Recently, our own Liang Downey, Director of Digital Domain attended the Power to the People: Distributed Generation and Microgrids Conference in San Francisco California.  Conference discussions focused on the innovation and integration of renewable energy generation and smart grid technology changing the way we can produce energy. In this new environment, Distributed Generation & Microgrids can play an unprecedented role in increasing efficiency, replacing non-renewable energy sources and reducing carbon emissions.  Panel discussions answered questions about the potential of distributed generation meeting electricity demand; what are the leading technologies driving current and future growth; and what are the key technical, logistical and economic hurdles in accelerating deployment? Liang was joined on a panel by Carrie McLaughlin of Nordic Windpower, Kevin Passalacqua of Bloom Energy and Ed Sappin of BP Solar.  The Panel, Moderated by Matt Lecar of GE Smart Grid was a lively discussion about "Scaling Down to Size - The Technology Landscape".  Liang's contribution concentrated on microgrids and the EMerge Alliance innovative approach to using DC power for lighting applications.

The audience was mostly students and faculty of both UC Berkley and Stanford University as well as industry professionals.  Greentech Media was there and they covered the conference as well.  Click here for their complete story.

Comment

Comment

Vice Mayor of Zhenjiang Visits Nextek

Vice Mayor of Zhenjiang and his staff Visit NextekThis past December Nextek had the honor of hosting the Vice Mayor of Zhenjiang, China along with his staff. Just an hour west of Shanghai, Zhenjiang is hoping to be a hub of science, manufacturing and technology for the 21st century. Capitalizing on its infrastructure and logistics advantages, emerging industries, state-of-the-art facilities, industrial foundation, workforce education and research innovations, the National Zhenjiang Economic and Technological Development Zone is planning on luring corporations and new industries to the city.

Their visit to Nextek, the first stop on a tour throughout the United States, was based on their interest in renewable energy and DC microgrids. The NZETDZ is planning a DC microgrid project for the city in 2011.

Comment

1 Comment

Paul Savage Talks DC Microgrids at Tedx Detroit 2010

On September 29, 2010 the area's leading creators, catalysts, entrepreneurs, artists, technologists, designers, scientists, thinkers and doers gathered at The Detroit Institute of Arts to share what they are most passionate about — positive ideas for the world from Detroit. Nextek CEO, Paul Savage, was one of those to speak.

1 Comment

Comment

To Greenbuild We Will Go!

With the tremendous growth of the Greenbuild community, the Greenbuild 2010 Conference occupied the entire McCormick Place West in Chicago, Illinois. As one of the first cities to adopt LEED for public buildings and the city that is home to more LEED-certified buildings than any other, Chicago is truly committed to leadership as a "next-generation" city – the perfect place to celebrate being part of Generation Green. Together, we will define what the future looks like in cities and towns around the world! Nextek was proud to be at the Greenbuild Conference in the EMerge Alliance booth showing off our new Power Server Module Model 1600 C-2 that was running the DC power to the booth!

Nextek at Greenbuild 2010

Comment

Comment

Nextek Participates in Connected Vehicle Trade Association Summit

The Connected Vehicle Trade Association in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Transportation and SAE International hosted The Second International Summit on the State of the Connected Vehicle with a Primary Focus on Policy and Strategy for Deployment. The first day emphasized policy, funding, issues and strategies to accelerate deployments regionally and internationally, and the second day addressed near term business opportunities, vehicle to grid connectivity and insurance telematics. The Summit brought together senior executives and policy officials from government and industry with responsibility for the deployment and operation of Connected Vehicle programs systems and products. Presenters from Europe, Asia and North America provided perspectives from their respective regions. In addition, major corporate business leaders from automotive companies, the technology supplier community and communication companies discussed the business and partnering opportunities in this rapidly evolving environment. This event will brought together the international public and private sector leadership with responsibility for deployment in the connected vehicle environment.

Paul Savage, Nextek CEO, was a featured speaker at the event and brought his expertise on DC power solutions and vehicle to grid connectivity.

Specific questions the summit was expected to answer include:

  • Deployment schedules including costs, product and service introduction schedules and installation projections locations
  • International variations on business models for vehicle and roadside deployments
  • Regional perspectives of deployment, policy, and business models
  • Near term and longer term benefits regarding congestion, safety, environmental issues and economic development
  • Wide area connectivity and other networks, and the interface of DSRC to ITS networks
  • Highlights of short term business opportunities in the US and internationally.
  • New development in Insurance Telematics and data analytics
  • Updates on the advances in vehicle to grid connectivity

Comment

Comment

Nextek Enters GE's Ecomagination Challenge

GE’s Ecomagination Challenge is a $200 million call-to-action for businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators, and students to share their best ideas and come together to take on one of the world’s toughest challenges – building the next-generation power grid to meet the needs of the 21st century. Organizations and individuals may enter as many ideas as they wish in the three categories: Renewables, Grid Efficiency and Eco Homes/Eco Buildings between July 13 and September 30, 2010. VOTE FOR OUR IDEA BY CLICKING BELOW:

Use Power How and Where it is Generated

The idea: Nextek Power Systems has a simple yet ingenious upgrade to conventional power delivery that applies directly to all categories of the GE Challenge. Nextek’s innovative Direct Current microgrid can be deployed incrementally, improving the overall efficiency, sustainability and reliability of the Smart-Grid and the loads it serves.

Comment

Comment

Nextek Heads to Anaheim for Green Building Power Forum

This month Paul Savage, CEO of Nextek Power Systems, will be headed to Anaheim, California to participate in the Second Annual Green Building Power Forum sponsored by the Darnell Group. This year's forum will consider all aspects of building power including both high-voltage and low-voltage DC distribution, hybrid AC and DC distribution architectures, and DC microgrids. Our very own Paul Savage will be participating in a round table discussion titled "How to Accelerate the Adoption of DC Power Distribution".  Other events sponsored by the Darnell Group have been very successful, including the DC Building Power Japan conference this past December. This first annual conference included numerous important "firsts" including the first comprehensive review of DC power architectures for homes, data centers and microgrids. The first joint meeting of the EPRI DC Power Partners and the Japan DC Power Industrial Partners. The approval of a provisional standard for 380v DC data centers and the first public tours of high-voltage DC powered data centers...very exciting news!

Comment