Editor's Comments: Enhancements in Distributed Energy

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In this month’s feature, John Jeter writes about the expanding role of today’s advanced flywheel energy storage solutions. This green alternative offers environmental benefits, reliability, and is much more cost effective than lead-acid batteries with uninterruptable power systems (UPSs). Jeter highlights a case study for UC San Diego’s Supercomputer Center (SDSC), which needed more efficient solutions for protecting its critical computer systems as traditional methods could not advance SDSC’s efficiency goals. To address these needs, the SDSC opted for highly efficient VDC flywheel units.

The community microgrid market is currently booming due to technological improvements and the declining cost of incorporating various microgrid-enabling technologies. In our next feature, Will Agate sheds light on best practices and the promising outlook on the future of localized energy. Agate points out that “the need to find innovative solutions to protect communities with localized energy solutions has become more pressing” since society is being continually challenged by natural disasters. While there are several different types of community grids, Agate suggests starting out with a foundational model, which is cost-competitive and more manageable. Over time, if done correctly, this microgrid can evolve and become more complex.

Next up is our cover story on turbines and the advancements that have taken place in terms of technology, new applications,and developing methods of installation. While turbines are nothing new, they are in the midst of a renaissance as “applications and power sources have greatly diversified,” writes Daniel P. Duffy. Turn to page 16 to find out more about the evolution of turbine technology.

 Lori Lovely writes about the environmentaland economic advantages of flex fuel technology. We also get anup-close look at a backup power installation at the Museum of theBible, located just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The museum opened to the public in 2017, and a 1920s-era refrigerated warehouse was completely renovated to house the 430,000-square-foot museum complex with the goal of becoming one of the most technologically advanced and engaging museums in the world. Due to the size of the application there were numerous considerations to be taken into account. Lovely provides a look into this installation, which houses eight 400 kW natural gas units located in a rooftop mechanical room.

As distributed energy resources (DERs) become more widely adapted, challenges are arising when it comes to successfully communicating with and controlling these devices, writes Jason Yedinak. He notes that DERs need to be interoperable with the information technology and operational technology (IT/OT) systems of any utility or end user and that this interoperability should be so seamless that DERs become plug-and-play technologies. However, we still have a long way to go before that happens. To read more about the importance of interoperability of DERs click here.

Closing out this month’s project features is a case study on patient safety at the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, Israel. The trauma center and research facility invested in a GenCell G5 hydrogen-based fuel cell solution to reduce carbon footprint and, more importantly, protect its patients, scheduled procedures, and equipment. To find out more about the success of this power backup solution click here.

We hope you enjoy this final edition of Distributed Energy for 2019. To see what we’re planning for 2020, visit our website where you can view an updated editorial calendar and check out what’s in store for the months to come. See you next year!

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