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Insight: How Renewable Energy May Be Edison's Revenge

Green Lifestyle  (tags: interesting, greenproducts, greenliving, green, energy, technology, eco-friendly, environment, humans, society, design )

- 2527 days ago -
At the start of the 20th century, inventors Thomas Alva Edison and Nikola Tesla clashed in the "war of the currents. Edison lost that war but our AC-driven systems maybe replaced byDC-based systems soon because of the impact of renewable energy.


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Elle B (84)
Tuesday December 20, 2011, 3:59 pm

William K (308)
Tuesday December 20, 2011, 9:16 pm

Patricia E G (52)
Tuesday December 20, 2011, 11:47 pm
Edison - A pioneer in his field and a Visionary of sorts.
He forseen Solar Energy to be the next feasible Energy
Source once oil and coal have been depleted.

Thank you Cal

Raluca Anghel (84)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 2:55 am
interesting, thanks!

Michael O (176)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 5:39 am
An excellent read! Thanks!

Penelope P (222)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 6:09 am

Victor M (236)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 12:58 pm

Bill Eagle (41)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 1:07 pm
With DC, it will be as if the entire country was on storage batteries. Wind, solar, tides, along with hydrogen fuel cells may hopefully be the wave of the future.

Dr. William 'Sk Dykoski (9)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 1:21 pm
Coal and oil have not been depleted and if we do, we're dead. Ask our learned climate scientists who hold the same standards of learning and veracity as our medical and astrophysical scientists, for example. At the time, Tesla was right and Edison was wrong about long distance energy transmission. Technology invented since those guys has changed that. It will be nice to get rid of the high voltage power lines that dance across our landscape.

Bonnie B (103)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 2:22 pm
All right! This is great, Cal! Another boon, aside from not electrocuting us and being cheaper, is that alternating current screws up OUR electrical system, it's not very good for us. I hope I'm alive to see this transition and I hope you'll keep us posted about further developments!

Danica Mirkovic (108)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 3:05 pm
Noted, thanks

Fred Krohn (34)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 3:33 pm
For another view of this, search Fritz Lieber's story 'Catch That Zeppelin!' where Edison's dream has been boosted by Marie Curie into a fusion-powered DC electric world with helium-lofted airships and no WW2.

AC's biggest benefit is both easy voltage/current conversion without moving parts (transformers) and reasonable ease of use after transmission, especially with modern solid state power systems. The nascent sustainable energy systems and storatge systems can use static inverters, rectifier stacks, and motor-generator sets with quite high efficiencies nowadays, so use of cable-surface AC high voltage transmission and whole-cable DC high voltage transmission are both feasible for processing and handling either power style. Tesla/Westinghouse beat Edison/GE because AC was easier to transmit back in the beginning, but the changes have put AC and DC on a much more equal footing now.

Back over a century ago, Edison developed the Nickel-Iron battery, a low-toxicity high durability electric storage battery system. These batteries were lightweight enough to be suitable for powering electric vehicles, avoided the toxic lead plates of 'lead acid' technology, and had a fairly simple chemistry. In contrast, modern efforts at electric vehicles use overpriced lithium and rare-earth based battery systems with a high content of toxic materials, quite dangerous in a wreck and difficult to dispose of after the battery fades. We should step back and re-evaluate. A big lead battery in a submarine can be calculated for and worked into the buoyancy, but it's too heavy for a Greyhound bus, and the lithium-ion battery design would be both too expensive and too short lived, fading in capacity while a nickel-iron system would simply be flushed and refilled with fresh electrolyte.

Fred Krohn (34)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 3:46 pm
Solar concentrators can make AC with a turbine and steam just like an oil fired plant can. PV cell systems can power a static inverter or run local DC systems. Wind turbines can be made either 'synchronous' in a wind farm, all the rotors locked in step and spinning their generators to the tune of 60 or 50 cycle per second grid current - or they can be set to DC and run 'asynchronous' to charge batteries or pump water for stored and usable energy reserves. DC power is more practical for smaller wind farms, while High Voltage AC Synchronous is best for big commercial installations. Geothermal systems can use either, just select either DC commutator or AC with rectifier generators or AC synchronous generators for the output. Ocean current generators would probably run best with AC and a slow steady set of rotors in the Gulf Stream or other current and tide effects. We can have and use both in the modern world.

Eddie O (95)
Wednesday December 21, 2011, 7:23 pm
Definitely a good read. I just had some tenants build a house wired totally for 24 volt, DC current. Sadly, they also had to wire it completely for 110 volt AC current to meet the building codes. And, of course, they had difficulty finding appliances and a good selection of other things: ceiling fans, etc., that work on DC current. I haven't heard from them as they just moved in a few weeks ago, but I suspect they are very pleased, especially with the drop in energy costs they will be having.

Andrea Connelly (94)
Thursday December 22, 2011, 12:48 am
Thanks Cal and Fred.

David C (108)
Thursday December 22, 2011, 6:39 am
very interesting.....

Carl Nielsen (7)
Thursday December 22, 2011, 9:22 am
Oh please dont be absurd - the need for power transmission isnt going away and DC simply is massively inferior to AC with respect to transmission.

KS Goh (0)
Sunday December 25, 2011, 1:02 am
Thanks for the article.
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