Building a better telecom system

Jul 22, 2008

Hurricane Katrina helped University of Texas professor, Alexis Kwasinski, formulate a new plan for the U.S. telecom system: a de-centralized power architecture that would have kept the lights and phones on in New Orleans. Kwasinski maintains that a microgrid-based power plant with its own local power sources and independent control would be more dependable, efficient, and cost effective than traditional telecom power systems. Microgrids would also be a quick and inexpensive way to include renewable energy sources for both existing and developing systems.

"There has been surprisingly little research on disaster damage and restoration of telecommunications systems," says Kwasinski. "My survey of the Gulf coast after Katrina showed how devastating a single downed line or incapacitated substation can be. The answer is diverse power input. You integrate different types of local power sources with diverse energy delivery infrastructures through multiple-input converter modules."

Since the communications industry power standard is direct current (DC) local networks, Kwasinski is exploring DC generation systems using a microgrid-based telecom power plant with a modular distributed architecture. Energy would come from a mixture of renewable energy sources, microturbines, fuel cells, and interconnection to the existing utility grid. Converters in secondary distribution frames would isolate short circuit currents. Since the utility grid is a secondary source, the microgrid would be protected against the grid's surges and failures.

The savings would be generous. Microgrids could "sell" excess power to the utility grid. Costs decrease because of reduced energy storage, less down time, equipment operating at maximum efficiency, lower hardware expense, and optimal power input control based on energy costs.

"I think the most exciting aspect of the research is how flexible this approach is," says Kwasinski. "It works for developing countries who can add components to the system as they can afford it. Existing systems can easily be retrofitted with a microgrid system operating as a secondary distribution method. Small devices like solar panels and windmills can be added ad hoc, making for a painless transition to renewable energy at a competitive cost."

Source: University of Texas at Austin

Explore further: Verizon launches rewards program with tracking

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google worker shows early-draft glimpse of Chrome OS

5 hours ago

The Chrome OS is in for a future look. Athena, a Chromium OS project, will bring forth the new Chrome OS user experience. Google's François Beaufort on Friday, referring to the screenshot he posted, said," ...

Firefighters battle wild blazes in Spain

9 hours ago

Spanish firefighters on Saturday battled forest blazes that have destroyed hundreds of hectares of parched land and forced scores of people from their homes, authorities said.

Kingston, Jamaica hybrid project to harness sun and wind

19 hours ago

A hybrid energy project in Kingston, Jamaica, aims to satisfy the need for money-saving renewable energy. U.S.-based WindStream Technologies recently announced the wind solar hybrid installation commissioned ...

Archaeologists excavate NY Colonial battleground

19 hours ago

Archaeologists are excavating an 18th-century battleground in upstate New York that was the site of a desperate stand by Colonial American troops, the flashpoint of an infamous massacre and the location of the era's largest ...

Recommended for you

Hoverbike drone project for air transport takes off

10 hours ago

What happens when you cross a helicopter with a motorbike? The crew at Malloy Aeronautics has been focused on a viable answer and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support its Hoverbike project, "The ...

Study shows role of media in sharing life events

11 hours ago

To share is human. And the means to share personal news—good and bad—have exploded over the last decade, particularly social media and texting. But until now, all research about what is known as "social sharing," or the ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Corban
not rated yet Jul 22, 2008
Efficiency and Security usually don't go together. By increasing one, you reduce the other. This can only be bypassed by creativity or a large sum of money.