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DC technology could make India’s blackouts a thing of the past

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 09:55 -- Tildy Bayar
DC technology could make India’s blackouts a thing of the past

A new direct current (DC) technology from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) is being tested in four south Indian states. If successful, researchers say it could eliminate the country’s disabling power cuts.

The so-called ‘uninterrupted direct current’ (UDC) will provide a minimum of 100W per household per day, even at peak demand times and when grid power is cut.

It works by separating alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) to power different home appliances. A low-voltage AC line from a substation is converted to DC power by a home device. The current is fed into its own meter and through to lights, fans and other low-power devices like mobile chargers and televisions. The remainder of the building is run on AC power, which is metered separately.   

According to the researchers, the resulting amount of DC power is too low to be shut down, except to repair technical faults. Thus, instead of a blackout, a region could have a brownout, with minimal power remaining.

A UDC unit will cost around Rs1000 ($16.7). Consumers will also need to buy LED light bulbs and fans that run on DC power. Homeowners can also connect a solar panel to the device.   

"I think it's a very simple idea but real huge gains are possible,” said electrical engineering professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala, a member of the prime minister's Science Advisory Council and one of the project’s researchers.  “So I think if we do it right, India has a game changer technology.”


Socomec to manufacture UPS in India

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 10:35 -- Ruth Williams
Socomec will increase production at its Gurgaon site to include UPS systems

Socomec Innovative Power Solutions, the Indian branch of Socomec Group, has begun manufacturing UPS systems at its plant in Gurgaon, India.

The company previously imported the entire UPS systems, but now builds them domestically from imported components. The next stage is to manufacture transformers locally and reduce costs further.

The production site had been used for changeover switches, switch accessories and other low-voltage equipment. The newly added manufacturing line has the capacity to output 500 units per year.

India tightens battery disposal rules

Fri, 10/18/2013 - 14:44 -- Ruth Williams
Battery recycling in India

The Indian central pollution control board (CPCB) has told lead-acid battery manufacturers to set up collection points, individually or jointly, for used batteries from consumers or dealers.

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Samsung and Xtreme Power team up for smart grid project

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Samsung SDI and Xtreme Power are installing a 1MW/1MWh lithium-manganese oxide energy storage system for a demonstrative smart grid project in Texas. The system, to be installed at the Reese Technology Centre in Lubbock, is partly funded by the Department of Energy.

The project aims to promote utility scale energy storage with wind energy. The battery system will be utilised to regulate power generated from local wind turbines that suffer from intermittent loss of generation.

Samsung’s lithium-ion battery technology together with Xtreme Power’s Xtreme Active Control Technology (XACT), which gives millisecond response time, will enable the wind generated power to be fed into the national grid.

This is the first project Samsung SDI and Xtreme Power have worked on together to provide energy storage solutions for renewable integration and grid support. The companies have formed the alliance to reach renewable energy goals and promote a cleaner electric grid.

Battery University in Silicon Valley

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

San Jose State University will be offering courses specifically designed for students who want to work with battery technology.

The University is partnering with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and CalCharge to offer the professional programme of education at the University’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, which feeds more graduate engineers into the Silicon Valley workforce than any other university.

California has over 40 battery-related companies working on energy storage solutions for electric vehicles, consumer electronics and the renewable energy storage sector.

The courses are offered in response to changing workplace demands in the high tech battery industry.

European Commission takes UK to court over VAT on energy-saving products

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The European Commission is taking the UK to court over its reduced VAT rate on energy-saving products.

The UK charges 5% instead of the standard 20%. Under EU VAT rules, discounts are only allowed for social policy reasons, not environmental reasons.

In a statement, the European Commission said: "Member States themselves unanimously decided on the list of goods and services that could benefit from a reduced VAT rate, and they also insisted that this list be strictly applied, with no room for manoeuvre or interpretation. This is important to prevent competitive distortions in the Single Market and to ensure a fair and level playing field between all Member States."

The Commissions added economic studies showed reduced VAT rates "are often not the best way to achieve policy objectives" and direct subsidies could be more efficient.

Stationary fuel cell developer ACAL Energy appoints new CEO

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

UK hydrogen fuel cell developer ACAL Energy has appointed Greg McCray as CEO, the company said in a statement.

McCray was previously CEO of Antenova Limited, a wireless components company. While at Antenova, Greg transformed the organisation into the world's fastest-growing innovative antenna business, backed by global venture capitalists and major institutional funds.

ACAL Energy claims it has a “revolutionary approach” to hydrogen fuel cell technology buy using 80% less platinum on average. This results in a significant cost and footprint reduction.

After eight years of R&D investment, ACAL Energy is now ready to license its FlowCath fuel cell technology to major automotive manufacturers and companies in the stationary power industry, it said.

MEMS Power Generation to keep power running at London Uni

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

A major London university contracted MEMS Power Generation to provide temporary power for the continuation of medical research and experiments during maintenance work.

MEMS supplied a total of 4100kVA to six buildings on the university site that house 20 years of experiments that cannot be affected by ongoing site maintenance.

Engineers installed two 800kVA generators, that will work in parallel redundancy, and 2600kg of cabling for total resilience. This was followed by two 1250kVA generators, which will work in parallel to power the site’s main building.

MEMS Power Generation, commented: “The University is renowned for carrying out a vast amount of medical research, so the temporary power we supplied needed to ensure that experiments and testing could carry on as normal during the maintenance period. If power had been lost, potentially 20 yeas of experiments could have been lost.

"Our aim was to ensure that the buildings never lost power for more than 15 minutes on installation of the temporary equipment and on reinstatement of the mains supply.”

Oz energy firm offer $10 000 in grants

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Australia’s biggest energy retailer, Origin, is offering AUS$10 000 in grants to encourage customers to install energy saving devices. The programme is intended to raise awareness of where energy savings can be made at household and business level.

The programme, called Origin Local Savers, is open to households, businesses and community groups in Ballarat, Victoria, with five grants being given out in total.

"We hope that Origin Local Savers will help Ballarat residents become more aware of the simple things that can be done around the office, home or in the community," said Amy Stockfield, Origin Consumer Media and Partnerships Manager.

The grant money can be used to upgrade electrical appliances, install eco-friendly lamps or set up timer switches to reduce the use of standby power.


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