Lawrence THE HANDLE, which varies in length according to the height of its user, and in some cases is made by that user to his or her specifications, is like most of the other parts of the tool in that it has a name and thus a character of its own. I call it the snath, as do most of us in the UK, though variations include the snathe, the snaithe, the snead, and the sned. Onto the snath are attached two hand grips, adjusted for the height of the user. On the bottom of the snath is a small hole, a rubberized protector, and a metal D-ring with two hex sockets.
We envision a future network with hundreds of millions of active endpoints.
These are not merely passive loads as are most endpoints today, but endpoints that may generate, sense, compute, communicate, and actuate. They will create both a severe risk and a tremendous opportunity: As infrastructure deployment progresses, the new bottleneck will be the need for overarching frameworks, foundational theories, and practical algorithms to manage a fully [data-centric] power network.
Think of these algorithms as hybrids of distributed networking protocols and financial trading algorithms — they are routing energy as well as participating in a market.
Its source code has been released, making it possible for researchers and others to use this tool to build applications for more efficiently managing energy use among appliances and devices, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning HVAC systems, lighting, electric vehicles and others.
Then it was moving money around. The next big thing will be moving energy around. Grid-scale energy storage is perhaps the most critical technology problem in clean energy.
When I visited the ISOthe operator was just about imploring us to invent better energy storage technologies, because they would change the game entirely.
There are various companies pursuing variations on batteries, compressors, flywheels, thermal storage, water pumps, and more. Particularly charming is Advanced Rail Energy Storagewhose proposal is using lower-cost power to drive a train uphill and then let the train roll downhill to produce power when market prices are high.
IceBank is an air-conditioning solution that makes ice at night [when energy demand is low] to cool buildings during the day. An energy storage startup can be in the strange position of continually adjusting their product and strategy in response to fluctuations in fossil fuel prices.
But as in the case of energy production, there should be a tipping point if storing and reclaiming renewable energy can be made decisively cheaper than generating it from natural gas, and can be scaled up to meet demand.
The core technologies in energy storage tend to be physics-based, but software plays essential roles in the form of design tools, simulation tools, and control systems. Consuming Energy To the right is how the U. We need to erase that. There are a number of emerging ways to reduce this impact.
Electric vehicles are inevitable.
Today, powering a car from the grid might not be much cleaner than burning gasoline. But once the grid cleans up, not only will electric cars be cleaner than gas cars, they may be more efficient than mass transit.
New kinds of powered vehicles are becoming possible which are more nimble and efficient than cars. Most trips people take are fairly short. Coordinated autonomous vehicles could lead to very different ways of moving around people and deliveries.
This is basically mobile robotics on a big scale. Reducing the need for personal transportation via urban design. Among other reasons, this is important to counter the likely tendency of autonomous cars to increase urban sprawlwhich has been strongly correlated with emissions.
Similar opportunities apply to fleet vehicles.
One of the cofounders of Tesla is now in the business of electrifying Fedex vans and garbage trucks. As for airplanes, people might just have to fly less. Many home appliances that consume significant electricity — air conditioner, water heater, clothes dryer, electric vehicle charger — have some tolerance in when they actually need to run.
The water heater could also work aggressively when solar power was plentiful and hold back when clouds went by, to match the intermittency of renewables and require less energy storage.
Demand flexibility uses communication and control technology to shift electricity use across hours of the day while delivering end-use services at the same or better quality but lower cost. Half the energy savings in California came from adjusting the profit structure of power utilities so they could be profitable selling less power.
These standards, as well as more recent voluntary programs such as Energy Starforced companies to compete on efficiency. This drove innovation and even reduced cost! Building standards are a particularly interesting case here, because they were, and are, intimately tied to software.
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