Voltage Reduction for the Duck Curve
“How can we use voltage reduction to help the duck curve?”
The duck curve is one of the most pressing issues in renewable energy integration. However, most methods to ameliorate this are usually quite complicated. But how can we use our engineering mindsets to solve this problem? Well, we know that if we were to reduce the voltage that an appliance uses, then its power dissipation will go down. So what if we were to have an automated system where this will occur during peak energy use times? This is the idea behind Voltage Reduction for the Duck Curve and holds a promising future for demand response regulation.
Energy Storage for Grid Frequency Regulation
“How can we use energy storage to ensure grid reliability?”
One of the largest challenges facing grid integration is the infamous duck curve. The enormous spike up in electricity during times of low energy generation can wreck pure havoc on the grid. However, how can we use our engineering mindset to solve this problem? Well, what if we were to store excess energy generated, and withdraw it during times of need? This way, we can use Energy Storage for Grid Frequency Regulation!
Energy Storage as a Service
“How can we turn energy storage into a business?”
Traditionally, facilities had only two options for receiving electricity, generating their own or purchasing from a utility. But with the advent of renewable energy and advanced energy storage, this picture is starting to change. Facilities can now enter contracts with organizations to receive energy from energy storage systems. This venture known as Energy Storage as a Service has the potential to generate revenue, create savings, and improve electricity resiliency by providing clean energy at affordable rates
“How can we make sure that buttons on a microcontroller work?”
Microcontrollers are the backbone of modern-day mechatronics systems. However, the default circuitry has a serious problem. When a button is not pressed, the input automatically reads ground. This can cause serious misreadings to happen, which can cause the microcontroller to crash! So how can we use our engineering mindset to solve this problem? Well, what if we were to simply add a resistor to the input voltage? This way, when the switch is grounded, we can have the system read “High” instead of ground!
Fuel Injection Systems
“How exactly is fuel supplied to an ICE vehicle?”
Oil is what keeps old-fashioned internal-combustion engine vehicles going. If it wasn’t for a constant supply of this dangerous liquid, then all of the cars on the road would freeze up! However, how exactly is fuel supplied to a vehicle’s internal combustion engine? Well, let’s use our engineering mindsets to find out. An internal combustion engine is housed in a cylinder. And naturally, if we open up ports to this cylinder, then we can let fluids in. So what if we were to create an opening that would allow us to inject fuel when we need it? Well, this is known as a fuel injection system and is one of the most fundamental components of a car system.
“How do most mechatronic industrial machines operate?”
Believe it or not, most modern day industrial mechatronic devices share a common operating principle. But how exactly does this work? Well, let’s use our engineering mindset to find out. When running through their cycles, they are in one state at a time. Whether it be an elevator changing floors or a car starting its motors. And if they want to change states, then a certain condition needs to be satisfied, such as reaching the destination floor or reaching full speed. Resultantly, this system architecture is called a Finite-State Machine and is one of the most common examples in the world.
The Critical Radius
“What is the most optimal radius for insulation?”
It is usually thought that if one wants to provide more insulation to an object, then all they have to do is add more layers. However, if this also increases the surface area of an object, which can cause the heat loss by convection to increase as well. If the insulation becomes too large, then the convection effect actually takes over! So how can we find the most optimal radius for convection? Well, if we use our knowledge of heat transfer and calculus, then we can find out that the critical radius r for a cylinder is equal to k/h and 2k/h for a sphere, where k is the conductive heat transfer coefficient and h is the convective heat transfer coefficient.