Smarter Electrical Distribution 

By on

The other day I came across an article in Technology Review on the development of a smart transformer. A professor at North Carolina State University is developing a transistor based transformer capable of coping with both dc and ac and of directing power to where it is required. His idea is to shuffle power around the grid in the same way that the internet intelligently moves data around.

The interesting thing from this is that people are starting to address the way we move power around. There is a lot of talk about renewable energy such as solar and wind, but less talk in utilizing this on a large scale. One of the problems with renewable generation is that it is not continuous; you need the sun to be out for solar power to work. Contrast this with our consumption habits of wanting power available on demand twenty four hours a day. As reliance on renewable energy continues to increase this mismatch between generation and demand is going to get worse.

While the smart transformer may or may not be a component in future smarter distribution systems it is obvious that how we utilize power will need to change.


Steven McFadyen's avatar Steven McFadyen

Steven has over twenty five years experience working on some of the largest construction projects. He has a deep technical understanding of electrical engineering and is keen to share this knowledge. About the author

myElectrical Engineering

comments powered by Disqus



What is Aircraft Ground Power

Ever wondered what kind of power an aircraft uses when parked at the airport stand. Normally the aircraft generates it own power, but when parked with...

Surface Treatment – Ladders, Trays and Baskets

Steel ladders, trays and baskets form the backbone of cable containment systems. Often these items need some form of surface treatment to prevent corrosion...

Are We Losing Professional Integrity

I have been thinking recently that there appears to be less professional integrity around than when I first started my career in electrical engineering...

Skin Tapping Input

Tapping your forearm or hand with a finger could soon be the way you interact with gadgets. A new technology created by Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon ...

Our internet address and Vanity URLs

Visitors who like to type web address rather then click menus may be interested in how our URL structure works.

Three Phase Current - Simple Calculation

The calculation of current in a three phase system has been brought up on our site feedback and is a discussion I seem to get involved in every now and...

9 power supply issues solved by using a UPS

Installation of a UPS can help in reducing problems due to issues with the power supply.  A lot of people relate this to nine key issues.  Depending on...

Mobile Phones (Brick to Implant)

The mobile phone was born in 1973. They were the size of a brick and weighed a couple of kg, making them difficult to fit into your pocket. At a few thousand...

How to Size Current Transformers

The correct sizing of current transformers is required to ensure satisfactory operation of measuring instruments and protection relays. Several methods...

Capacitor Theory

Capacitors are widely used in electrical engineering for functions such as energy storage, power factor correction, voltage compensation and many others...

Have some knowledge to share

If you have some expert knowledge or experience, why not consider sharing this with our community.  

By writing an electrical note, you will be educating our users and at the same time promoting your expertise within the engineering community.

To get started and understand our policy, you can read our How to Write an Electrical Note