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A new technology could solve the problem of inefficient use of electricity and change the way we consume energy, save businesses money, especially data centers, and possibly even save the lives of American soldiers in vulnerable re-supply convoys.
When you plug your phone or your computer into the wall, electrons are traveling through the wires in order to give your device energy. But these electrons encounter resistance. When you touch your phone or your computer and it’s hot, that is the result of the electrons meeting resistance. Another way electricity is wasted is through the electrons getting caught in the wires. This results in a phenomenon called “dirty power.”
3DFS is a technology company that designs, manufactures and implements a new and more efficient way to transfer energy. The company’s VectorQ system can measure the energy being used to see whether it is being smoothly transferred. Whenever electrons are getting caught, 3DFS technology corrects the energy transfer to keep everything stable.
The system also means the data centers can use smaller copper cables, which means more savings, according to newsobserver.com.
Energy efficiency is also crucial for smooth military operations abroad. Troops typically have used diesel generators to provide electricity in the field. The fuel is trucked in, and the long line of trucks is protected by military personnel moving along a single road for hundreds of miles.
The company incorporates software-defined electricity conducting digital measurement that helps save electricity, according to its website.
“You can imagine how vulnerable these fuel re-supply convoys are,” Chris Doerfler, the company’s co-founder said. “In the Afghanistan war, four out of five deaths were fuel re-supply related.”
To reduce that fuel use, the military has been slowly moving to microgrids, which allow energy systems to be managed better and more efficiently. A study released last year by Pew Charitable Trusts reported that the military could save $1 billion by shifting away from diesel generators to microgrids.
With a research grant that 3DFS received with the Marines it tested its technology on a micro-grid in Virginia. With this technology the military could “cut those fuel supply trips in half,” Doerfler said.
While the micro-grid project did not continue, 3DFS is currently working with the military on other technology projects, Doerfler said.