News Archives: November 2011
Some Naperville yard waste will soon be the city’s treasure.
The city will unveil a new “green fuels depot” next week. The facility will be used to convert yard waste into electricity, ethanol and hydrogen.
The city can put the electricity back into the power grid or charge electric vehicles. The ethanol will be used to fill the tanks of the city’s FlexFuel vehicles.
“It’s the first unit of its type that will take waste material, organic material, and convert it into one of three fuels,” said Councilman Bob Fieseler, who, along with Councilman Grant Wehrli, worked with Naperville-based Packer Engineering to bring the technology to the city.
Over the next year Naperville, outside Chicago, will become the first large town in the Midwest to have smart meters in all 57,000 homes and commercial buildings.
Those meters will transmit data to the city’s municipal power company every 15 minutes and eventually allow for two way communication between residents and their home heating and cooling systems.
“Next year we’ll begin to offer time-of use rates for the customers, and we think that’s going to be good,” says Mark Curran, who leads the city’s smart grid project. “The way it’s set up, customers will have an e-portal online and they’ll be able to see their power usage the past day or over the past three or four years. With programmable thermostats they can use an iPhone app to leave their temperature in summer up a few degrees and then cool it down before they get home.”
It’s one of the frustrations of modern life — the cell phone battery that expires just as you’re waiting for a vital call; the ipod that runs out of juice as your favorite song comes on; the mad dash for a coffee shop to plug in your laptop before it dies.
But such moments could soon be fewer and farther between, thanks to a breakthrough in battery technology made by scientists at Northwestern University.
By combining two methods, a team led by Prof. Harold Kung says it has created lithium-ion batteries that last ten times longer and charge ten times faster than was previously possible.
Last July, an industry insight article by GE Digital Energy indicated – to realize a smarter grids potential today, we need to create a “Smart Grid Social Network.”
I set out to created it over the past 3 months by:
- acquiring the SmartGrid.com and SmartGrid.org domains
- establishing Smart Grid Network, Inc.
- Working with the Illinois Smart Grid Regional Innovation Cluster (ISGRIC), a Silicon Vally-based social networking firm and Chicago-based IT/SEO firms to create Smart Grid Network.
Smart Grid Network™ was launched on October 18th, during the Great Lakes Symposium on Smart Grid and the New Energy Economy. The site will be pilot tested with content for Illinois, then will branch out to other states and countries.
In Springfield, they either called it “the ComEd bill” or the “smart grid bill”: legislation hundreds of pages long outlining a plan to modernize the state’s 100-year-old electrical grid.
Large chunks of that legislation, however, have little to do with the smart grid, which is the term used to describe an automated, interactive and computerized electrical grid.
Instead, much of the law is devoted to overhauling the regulatory system that decides electric rate hikes for consumers — changes that mean millions of dollars per year to Commonwealth Edison Co. In the utility’s battle to override Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of the legislation, the bill gained support through additions that addressed specific concerns of legislators, environmental groups and business leaders.