US DoE

The US Department of Energy (US DoE) awarded a grant to IoT firm Introspective Systems to develop technologies to allow smart appliances to communicate.The grant ($146,683) will be used to develop technology that will relieve strain on the grid by allowing appliances to operate at minimum power especially when used simultaneously. For instance, a refrigerator can use the technology to figure out when the best time is to turn down its internal temperature.

The grant has been awarded to the Oregon-based firm through the Department of Energy’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme. The programme is part of the Department’s Grid Modernisation Initiative and will run until March 2017.

[quote] Kay Aiken, CEO of Introspective Systems, said: "The DoE wants a way to put intelligence on the edge of the grid, and this also could save energy and cost at the same time.” [DoE unveils new energy efficiency funding programme].

The technology will be used to create miniature grids comprising multiple houses and connecting these homes. Should a blackout occur, nearby grids could automatically sense the lack of power and send electricity their way.

"One problem now with the grid is that it is very vulnerable to terrorist attacks, and having potentially thousands or millions of smaller grids that build upon one another would result in less damage if there were an attack,” added Aiken. [ViaSat certifies US DoE’s cybersecurity test bed].

28 IoT and utility companies applied for the grant only won by four shortlisted applicants.

Smart grid funding

The development follows an announcement in January by the US DoE that it will provide funding of up to $220m to projects aiming modernising the country’s grid.

The funding will be channelled to more than 80 smart grid projects “to support critical research and development in advanced storage systems, clean energy integration, standards and test procedures, and a number of other key grid modernisation areas,” within the next three years.

Announcing the department’s plan, Ernest Moniz, secretary for the US DoE t said: “Modernising the US electrical grid is essential to reducing carbon emissions, creating safeguards against attacks on our infrastructure, and keeping the lights on.

“Our Quadrennial Energy Review and Quadrennial Technology Review identified needs and opportunities to invest in the grid,” he continued.

The new Grid Modernisation Initiative is the US DOE’s attempt to “solve the challenges of integrating conventional and renewable sources with energy storage and smart building.”

 

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons