DC Versus AC – Challenges for DC Adaption

| by Monica Irgens
DC Versus AC – Challenges for DC Adaption

We don’t realize the dynamics of our power grids serving us our daily needs of electricity.  We simply plug things in and they perform.  But, every time you charge a mobile phone, turn on an LED light, or use any other solid-state device (anything with a semiconductor), that line voltage AC current has passed though transformers, long-distance power lines (which have around 6% transmission losses), equipment that synchronizes power so the grid remains stable, and other devices before it gets to the device’s rectifier, which changes the current to DC. At each of these points, energy is lost.

Photovoltaic (PV) panels and other onsite renewables generate DC, but these systems still incur losses. Grid-connected renewables require an inverter to convert their DC to AC for the grid, even though it is changed immediately back to DC for onsite use.  And with each conversion, power is lost.

Though there are a few high-voltage DC lines in use, AC power infrastructure will be part of our energy future for decades to come. But using more building-wide DC would provide higher efficiency because of the potential to avoid power conversions.  For example, data centers using DC could have almost 30% energy savings. In lighting applications, 60% savings; switching from an AC to a DC microgrid will provide 7% energy savings; and you will save between 7% and 28% across a variety of conditions by switching to DC, the EMerge Alliance touts.  More advantages will be discussed in future blogs.

For more information on STEP Warmfloor visit www.warmfloor.com.

Topics: Heating & Cooling, Lighting, Radiant Heat, Solar Power

Companies: STEP Warmfloor

Monica Irgens

Monica is President of Electro Plastics, Inc., manufacturer of STEP Warmfloor® heating systems: a patented, low-voltage, self-regulating flat and thin heater. Monica has been in the radiant heating industry for over 20 years. She was member of the Radiant Panel Association for 15 years, served on the RPA Board of Directors as chairperson of the Electric Committee and the Green Committee. Monica is also a member of the USGBC and has been involved in the design of LEED registered buildings.

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