Heart Akerson is the CEO of Heart Transverter S.A. which develops, manufactures and markets a complete Smart Grid system with integrated renewable energy and energy storage. Heart Akerson is a physicist with undergraduate degrees from Virginia Tech and graduate degrees from the University of Oregon. Inventor of US Patents #4,564,896, #4,742,441, #5,331,967, and #6,344,985 and EC Patents #EP 0 684 785 B1 and #1 340 312 with others pending. Founded Heart Interface Corp. which gave rise to a spin-off, Trace Engineering, both of whom were acquired by Xantrex which is now owned by Schneider.
What we are proposing is the real smart grid, one house at a time, providing autonomous smart nodes, implementable today, integrated Renewable Energy, demand response, data acquisition, advanced metering, end to end communications, power quality control, energy security, community energy storage, a living system, evolving and adding applications over time. There is nothing else that has been proposed which comes close to these benefits, particularly considering that this can be implemented immediately for a minimal cost that can easily be financed.
Transverters and the Future of Server Farms
The original Transverter system, as is explained at http://www.transverter.com/, will have a major impact on integrating the Smart Grid, Demand Response, Community Energy Storage and Renewable Energy into the home and office. This impact has the potential to be significant enough to be the entire solution, particularly when you consider the speed and low cost of the implementation. However, this is only the beginning.
Back in the good old days of resistive loads, when the capacity of a generator became stressed, its voltage would drop and the current to the loads would drop proportionally, and the lights would dim, which was a stable condition. When the loads decreased, the generator voltage would just come back up and the lights would return to normal brightness. With a data center, it is almost all electronic power supplies, which are automatically regulated, so when the grid voltage drops, the current to the loads automatically goes up proportionally. This is a highly unstable situation since the grid voltage is dropping because it already has too much current and cannot provide the current that the electronic loads demand. This is the root of the Data Center power problem.
One of the inherent problems with demand response is that the loads are not continuously variable. Inductive motors have their rpm's locked to the 60 Hz grid, electronic power supplies are regulated for constant power and nobody wants to see you pulsing the lights up and down to stabilize the grid. The Transverter can use the batteries to smooth the transitions of demand response turning things off and on, which is a major improvement. However, microprocessors have parameters that allow you to trade off computing throughput for energy consumption and are, more or less, continuously variable. This, combined with the Transverter system opens the doors for the data centers going from being the biggest problem in the electrical sector to being the biggest solution for the electrical sector.
The Server Farm of the Future. These will have Transverter based UPS systems which will also integrate the solar power coming from an entire roof of solar panels. The actual blade servers will be a combination of 120 vac and 48 VDC with the transition working towards more DC because of the higher efficiency and lower cost. The system will be broken up into small sub-systems of 8 – 16 kW which will have full capability to operate autonomously. The entire facility will be power factor corrected. The batteries will be advanced Li-ion and the electronics and batteries will have a design life the same as the solar panels, 25-30 years. The batteries will support 1.5 hours of rated load back up which will be about 3 hours of typical load backup. The solar array will be sized to fully support the load at midday. In a grid blackout, the solar combined with the batteries would support an entire working day and the system could run indefinitely without the grid at reduced power levels. These same Li-ion batteries will be able to offset the grid’s use patterns (see http://www.transverter.com/smart.html), still with a 30 year expected life. The batteries for the UPS system will also be continuously used to smooth the transitions of things turning on and off. When there is a power failure, there will be full use of the solar power and the Transverter systems will integrate directly to fuel cells for longer backup time. The real dynamic here is that the parameters of the servers will continuously be adjusted, on a second by second basis, to optimize the stability of the energy system. This is the Holy Grail of demand response, where the power consumption can be smoothly and continuously adjusted in response to what is happening with the grid. This will be optimized so the speed of computation is slowed down to respond to energy demand but is barely perceivable. This will eliminate the need for peaker plants all together and will have such a massive positive impact on the grid that the Utility companies are sure to participate financially with lower rates and other incentives. Communities will be fighting to be the one to have the privilege of hosting the next big data center.