DC Distribution: The Power To Change Buildings

July 14, 2011 - 12:00pm
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This seminar presents an overview of the effort to create new applications standards to drive the distribution and use of native direct current (dc) in net zero energy commercial and residential buildings. From the early days of electric power generation, distribution and use there’s been a debate over which form of power, AC or DC, is best. Edison set the stage for this argument in the late 1800’s with his invention of DC powered lighting systems. Tesla's system of AC dynamos, transformers and motors all but stopped the growing use of DC by the turn of the century. With the notable exception of electrified transportation, and low power systems like telephones or Ethernet devices, AC took over the world of electrical power by the mid 1900’s. But, we are now deep into a new era that will see natively DC electronic equipment, alternate energy generation, electrical storage and chargeable electric vehicles push the power meter strongly back toward DC again. As such, an alarming share of the AC power distributed in buildings has or will be wastefully converted one or more times between AC and DC before it is used. This presentation will look at the alternative of using (and keeping) DC power in its native form from generation, to distribution, to end use. Discussed will be the motivation and need for new power application standards and the further need and development of an eco-system to support those standards. Also covered will be some practical transformational pathways from our legacy platforms to newer, more reliable, more versatile, safer and more sustainable hybrid AC/DC ones.

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Schedule subject to change without notice. If you are coming from off-site, please call first to verify. UC staff and guests are welcome. LBNL shuttle buses stop every few minutes at marked sidewalk locations along Bancroft and Hearst Avenues and Rockridge BART.