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EMerge Alliance

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Nextek Receives New UL Classification for Ballast Retrofit:Change Lets Customers Save by Switching to DC Ballasts

Nextek Power Systems Inc. has received a new Underwriters Laboratories classification that makes it possible to quickly and easily retrofit AC ballasts with safe, low-cost DC ballasts. The new classification, UL 2108, replaces UL 1598. A team of Nextek engineers and employees authored the document, with guidance from UL regarding safety certification requirements for this innovative retrofit product. The classification and Nextek’s instructions make it easy for building owners and managers to switch out AC ballasts and replace them with DC ballasts, which can reduce the cost of operating luminaires significantly.

Usually, no other changes to the luminaires or the lamps are necessary to accommodate the DC ballasts.

Paul Savage, Nextek Power System’s CEO, said, “We believe our low voltage DC lighting ballasts are the most efficient dimming fluorescent ballasts in the world. Connecting them to our Direct Coupling® Power Server Module (PSM) makes the total system the most efficient commercially available anywhere.

Nextek manufactures ballasts and power supplies for multiple types of T8, T5, CFL and Biax lamps, Emergency Ballasts, and DC Ceiling Fans.  All products are registered with the EMerge Alliance and compatible with that organization’s 24V DC Occupied Space standard.

To view the press release in its entirety, please see this article.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Nextek Presents at Michigan Solid-State Lighting Association Event

On February 25, 2010, Paul Savage spoke to a group of industry leaders at a Michigan Solid-State Lighting Association "Speaker Program".  The talk focused on "the Emerge Alliance for DC Power Distribution".  The group was given the opportunity to hear about Nextek's exciting partnership with Armstrong and our DC Flexzone ceiling grid as well as other interesting DC news.  We would like to thank Altair Engineering, who hosted and Ilumisys who sponsored this well-attended event.  Thank you!!

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Nextek Power Systems Appoints Advertising and Communications Agency

Nextek Power Systems has appointed JWT Worldwide (formerly the J. Walter Thompson Company) as its advertising and brand communications agency.  JWT Worldwide has over 145 years of marketing experience and its clients include global brand leaders like Nike, Ford Motor Company, Microsoft, Nestle, Unilever and thousands more globally.  We are looking forward to working with them on our first project, a press release launching the EMerge Alliance.

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Paul Savage at the Green Building Power Forum

Last week Paul Savage, Nextek CEO, participated in the Green Building Power Forum put on by the Darnell Group, this year out in Santa Ana, CA.  It’s the third GBPF; the first was in Anaheim, the second in Tokyo.  While the attendance was flat (apparently a good sign amidst the economic doldrums) it was an indicator of swift movement in the DC power realm.  The EMerge Alliance was a sponsor along with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Roal Electronics from Italy.  Big news was the bump in attendance from Japanese corporations.  Sharp, Panasonic, Fujitsu, NTT Facilities and JETIA were all there, following their successful conference in Tokyo a few months ago, where it was announced that the country was adopting a 380 volt DC standard for data center applications.  Now – in the Japanese press anyway – several demos of DC single family homes are underway.  The US had just one building materials manufacturer in attendance.  We have plans to build a DC model home soon with some top-drawer US partners, hopefully some collaboration with our Japanese colleagues and some German outfits that have cut the path on modern passive strategies for ultra efficient building design.

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Nextek CEO to be Featured at MSSLA Event

Nextek Power Sytems CEO, Paul Savage, will be the featured speaker at a Michigan Solid State Lighting Association networking event on February 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm. at the Altair Engineering Headquarters, 1820 East Big Beaver Road, Troy, MI 48083. The topic is: “The EMerge Alliance for DC Power Distribution” and it will be focused on the benefit to LED technology vendors. Please join us! DTE Energy is a founding member of MSSLA.

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Nextek Power Server Model 1600 C2 Heads to Underwriters Laboratories for Testing

In order to meet the National Electric Code requirements for Class 2 power units, a number of power servers are being sent to Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for rigorous testing. The power servers will be a part of a system conforming to the EMerge Alliance®, a standard for low-voltage DC power distribution and use in commercial building interiors. Our power servers are being tested for temperature tolerance, mechanical strength, power ratings and overall safety requirements according to UL Standards 1310 and 2577. Additional servers were sent to UL for a 2043 Burn Test. We anticipate receiving their findings soon. UL is the resource across North America for product safety certification and compliance solutions. Once the power server receives certification it will be released to market first in the United States. Guest Blogger John Jahshan, Director of Engineering

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