EMerge and EPRI Make DC Power Progress at the 2010 Green Building Power Forum

February 01, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the EMerge Alliance both made progress in the development of complementary dc powering standards at this year’s Green Building Power Forum (GBPF). The EMerge Alliance provided the first public discussion and review of its recentlyreleased dc-power standard for occupied spaces in buildings. EPRI developed the first "dc voltage tolerance envelope" plotting voltage variations versus time for 380-Vdc powered equipment. And EPRI and Emerge announced a joint-effort for the promotion and development of dc power infrastructure standards and equipment in various facilities including data centers, industrial installations, and commercial and residential buildings.

"Our new dc voltage tolerance envelope provides the technical details of the electrical operating environment including allowable voltage surges and sags that could enable engineers to design power converters for use with 380-Vdc distribution systems for next-generation data center equipment," stated Brian Fortenbery, Program Manager with EPRI.

Brian Patterson of Armstrong World Industries and Chairman of the EMerge Alliance commented, "It’s events like this that clearly indicate the merits and importance of hybrid dc technologies in the power and building industries. From dc-enabled devices used in buildings, to the direct connection potential of sitebased dc energy sources like photovoltaics, wind, thermal conversion, fuel cell and electric storage, the power world as viewed from a power consumer’s perspective has transformed itself into a largely dc environment. It’s time we work toward recognizing and providing more efficient, flexible and sustainable ways to convert and distribute ac and dc electricity."

"This year’s forum was an international event, working to develop a set of harmonized standards for dc power. Multiple voltage standards from 380-Vdc for bulk power delivery to 24-Vdc for local distribution will be needed to meet the energy demands of tomorrow’s buildings," stated Jeff Shepard, President of Darnell Group. "By undertaking a joint communications effort, EPRI and EMerge expect to develop a single message of the benefits of dc power distribution and accelerate the adoption of these new power architectures."

The plenary at GBPF 2010 included: Abandoning the Smart Grid for the Power Equation, by Paul Savage, CEO, Nextek Power Systems, Inc.; Specifications for 400V DC Power Supplies and Facility Equipment, by Dennis Symanski, Sr. Program Manager, Electric Power Research Institute, Keiichi Hirose, NTT Facilities, and Brian Fortenberry, Program Manager, Electric Power Research Institute; DC Microgrids in Action: A Report from the Field, by Brian Patterson, Chairman, EMerge Alliance / Armstrong World Industries; and Measuring DC Power - Let’s Get Serious About Accuracy, by Alex McEachern, President, Power Standards Lab.

General session topics included: "EMerge Alliance Activities," "400Vdc Power Systems," "Micro Grids and Alternative Energy," "Low-Energy Buildings," "Optimizing Power Architectures," and "Maximizing Efficiency." GBPF 2010 also featured an industry roundtable discussion of "What Are the Roadblocks to the Adoption of DC Power Distribution?" and a post-forum open meeting of EPRI’s DC Power Partners group. EPRI and Intel are platinum sponsors and the EMerge Alliance is a supporting sponsor of GBPF. Roal Living Energy is a gold sponsor. The three-day international conference attracted decision-makers interested in learning about and contributing to the latest practical advancements related to the use of dc power distribution in commercial, industrial, government and residential buildings, and critical facilities such as data centers as well as the creation of a dynamic power infrastructure.

The GBPF web site is here .