February 12, 2019 -- The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced $35 million in awards for 12 projects that find new ways to harness medium-voltage electricity for applications in industry, transportation, on the grid and beyond. The selected projects are part of ARPA-E’s Building Reliable Electronics to Achieve Kilovolt Effective Ratings Safely (BREAKERS) program, as well as the latest OPEN+ cohort, Kilovolt Devices.
“America’s energy landscape is constantly evolving, and as new ways to generate and distribute power gain popularity, it’s critical we develop the tools to maximize their utility,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “These ARPA‑E projects serve first and foremost to modernize how we move power around safely, reliably and efficiently, creating a new set of capabilities for tomorrow’s utilities and industry. ”
The 8 BREAKERS projects will work to develop new direct current (DC) devices to better manage power by eliminating electrical faults, improving efficiency and reaction times, and potentially enabling greater proliferation of energy storage and renewable resources. The four Kilovolt Devices OPEN+ projects will focus on a variety of challenges facing power electronics in the medium-voltage space, with a particular eye toward grid security and reliability.
Today’s power distribution networks are primarily powered by alternating current (AC) electricity, but DC can provide lower distribution losses and higher power carrying capacity. BREAKERS projects will develop DC devices that prevent electric arcing, a safety hazard, while handling large amounts of power and voltage.
Medium-voltage DC circuit breakers could enable significant improvements in the United States’ electrical system, transforming how electricity is delivered and managed across the entire power grid, as well as critical applications in industry, transportation, and resource production.
Click here to see the entire BREAKERS project list, and here to see the OPEN+ Kilovolt Devices selections.
Also of Interest from SGO:
9th Microgrid Global Innovation Forum - North America, March 18-20, 2019, Washington, D.C.
4th Grid Modernization Forum, May 20-22, 2019, Chicago
Utility Cyber Security Forum, June 25-26, 2019, San Diego
4th IoT Global Innovation Forum, July 9-10, 2019, Chicago