DC is the future

24/08/2017
  DC/DC Converter Fraunhofer IISB

Extract from VDI News, 24.08.2017

Micro- and nanogrids establish themselves as an experimental center for power electronics for DC technology.
More silicon, less copper and steel! With this encouraging appeal, Rik W. De Doncker opened the ICDCM 2017 in Nuremberg. The "International Conference on Direct Current Microgrids", sponsored by the US association IEEE, is the world's most important forum for direct current networking.

It aims at the efficient and flexible redesign of the electrical transport and distribution networks with their decentralized and liberalized feeders and customers in the form of renewable energies and CO2 neutrality.

The ICDCM agenda at the end of June illustrates the historical dynamics of the intensely discussed changeover of the alternating current (AC: Alternating Current) to a lighter and more compact DC technology (DC: Direct Current, DC). AC is the universal transport medium for electrical energy. But the chunky 50/60 Hz tensioners consume vast amounts of steel and copper.

Micro- and nanogrids offer new market opportunities

Remedy would provide the dc-free DC power transmission with semiconductor-controlled DC / DC converters. In micro- and nanogrids as local islands, producers and consumers could switch to their own taste without the intervention of public utilities.

The basic idea is, of course, that most systems and devices already work with DC power, even if they are supplied via AC power supplies. The domestic photovoltaics and battery storage, supplemented by the charging of electric vehicles, can operate seamlessly in local DC networks without internal AC buses with other devices on internal DC buses. And that the clunky network adapters on the connector strips disappear under the office desk, every user will welcome.

De Doncker, one of the most prominent advocates of the DC networks, is Professor at RWTH Aachen University and Director of the Eon Energy Research Center, which is intensively researching the DC network. He is also a major contributor to the Research Networks of the Future (FEN). [...]