Platform Thinking in Energy
“What is the next paradigm shift in consumer utilities?”
The world of consumer utilities is changing very rapidly. The days of centralized, controlled distribution are dying to make way for the new peer-to-peer sharing networks. Consumer utilities are starting to take note, and a new type of business governed by platform thinking is starting to take hold. Platform thinking is where businesses start thinking about making platforms instead of products. Take twitter for example. Twitter does not make any actual content but instead allows others to make it for no charge. The same type of thinking can be applied to energy, instead of focusing on making the actual electricity, utilities can instead focus on helping consumers distribute it to each other.
“How will people trade energy in the future?”
With the developing distributed energy world, energy transmission will now take place bidirectionally. One consequence of this is that people will be able to buy and sell energy from one another instead of the utility in a form known as transactive energy. Like online retail for consumer products, transactive energy will enable homeowners to barter and profit from self-generated renewable energy.
Fault Detection and Diagnostics for Solar Plus Storage Systems
“Can we use fault detection and diagnosis on solar plus storage systems?”
In the past, Fault Detection and Diagnostics was typically used in conventional energy power plants. However, with the advent of distributed energy resources, we must take into account how they might fail. As such, Fault Detection and Diagnostics for Solar Plus Storage Systems is becoming an up and coming research topic.
Solar Plus Storage Systems
“What is the next phase of standalone solar systems?”
Until recently, solar energy was thought to be a simple, stand-alone product. However, with the global proliferation of PV, the frontier of sustainability has been expanded. With the advent of distributed energy resources, it is no longer sufficient to simply generate electricity from renewables but also storage. Here, a very interesting technology called Solar Plus Storage Systems comes into play. Solar Plus Storage Systems are the combination of solar panels and battery storage systems communicating with one another to allow for optimal use of energy generation, whether it be in demand-side response, microgrids, or energy back up.
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
Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting
“Can we make energy by just walking on floor tiles?”
The ground floor of a building is typically thought of being statics and unuseful. But can we use our engineering mindset to change this? Well, energy generation often requires some sort of change of state in a system to happen. And in buildings, one change that is always happening is people’s movement. Specifically, people seem to be stepping everywhere to get somewhere. With this motion, pressure is exerted on the ground of a building. And if we take a note from our knowledge of circuits, then we know that we can create an electric current through this pressure with piezoelectricity. Therefore, if we implement piezoelectric tiles in a building, we can create a Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting framework. Researchers at San Jose State University are studying this field, and are hoping to implement a working piezoelectric tile by the end of Spring 2019.
How Distributed Energy Resources Help National Security
“Does implementing distributed energy resources and national security go hand in hand?”
It is usually thought that renewable energy sources such as solar and wind cause danger onto communities due to their lack of centralization. However, can this feature actually be a security advantage? Well, it turns out that by having energy generation be distributed instead of in a centralized location like a power plant, the grid becomes less prone to attacks and can recuperate much faster in case of such an event. Therefore, Distributed Energy Resources actually help national security!