Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Back to Edison: the war of currents revisited.

Google is helping the transition from industrial to information-age power infrastructure:

Google is investing $280 million in SolarCity, a company that leases out solar panels to home owners.
Google said it was a move to increase the amount of “distributed solar power.” That means that the power from solar panels is generated on the roofs of homes and is used by those homes instead of having to travel through a power grid. That can help reduce some of the strain on power grids during peak usage hours, when homes are drawing more electricity for air conditioning or, in the future, electric car charging.

This transition will begin in earnest when efficient energy storage becomes available to home owners and/or neighborhoods. Today, there's no practical way to store solar or wind power for future use on a small scale. Once this problem is solved, the current power distribution system, which wastes from 30 to 50 percent of transmitted energy, will be out of the picture, at least in the residential market.

Then, since the vast majority of information gadgets we'll be using consume low-power DC current, the next step will be creation of an in-home low-power DC network to feed them (rather than using AC/DC converters for everything, from PC to TV to car). This will probably take another 10 to 20 years.

tags: distribution, storage, energy, book, system, evolution, payload, s-curve, synthesis

No comments: