Thomas Edison’s Revenge Coming Soon?



By Atom Bergstrom

Atom’s Blog


As an Anti-Tesla/Westinghouse AC and pro-Edison DC guy, I was pleased to see the following 2012 Scientific American article …

Umair Irfan (“Edison’s Revenge: Will Direct Current Make a Comeback in the U.S.?,” Scientific American, Mar. 22, 2012) wrote …

“When the power gets to the user, it is stepped down to more usable levels. Since computers, televisions and cellphones run on DC, the power has to be rectified from AC so the undulating current becomes flat and ‘direct.’ This conversion isn’t always efficient, wasting between 5 and 20 percent of the energy as heat.

“That’s why your computer’s power brick warms up when you charge it. ‘Your laptop is kind of its own nano-DC grid. If you can imagine that scaling out to our whole power system, you can kind of see an evolution similar to how the Internet formed,’ said [Brian] Patterson.”

Solar panels and fuel cells generate DC power, which has to be converted to AC so it can be converted back to DC for your TV, computer.

As usual (IT WASN’T ALWAYS SO), China is beating the U.S. to the punch when it comes to advanced tech.

John Hewitt (“Tesla turns in his grave: Is it finally time to switch from AC to DC?,” Extreme Tech, Dec. 10, 2012) wrote …

“At the Three Gorges Dam in China, high voltage DC transmission lines were chosen to bring the power to the people for a variety of reasons. Many power companies are now starting to rethink the decisions that made AC transmission the obvious choice in the previous era.”

Michael Kanellos (“AC or DC? Should We Switch Our Electric Current?,” Green Tech Media, Dec. 16, 2010) wrote …

“In buildings, DC power from solar panels becomes AC in an inverter, and DC again when it gets to LED lights. The heat coming off your notebook brick? The waste product of an AC-DC conversion.”

According o the same source …

“A recent Duke University test showed that DC data centers consume 15 percent less power. Others peg the potential savings at closer to 30 percent.”

Lloyd Alter (“The home of tomorrow will run on direct current,” Mother Nature Network, Sept. 8, 2016) wrote …

“Poor Topsy. Thomas Edison killed the circus elephant, electrocuting the animal to demonstrate how dangerous alternating current was. Edison even described electrocution as being ‘Westinghoused,’ after the company promoting AC. It was the apex of the War of the Currents, where the evil Edison was pitted against the brilliant Nikola Tesla. It’s a battle that Edison lost, and all because of transformers, simple coils of wire that could change the voltage of AC and made long-distance transmission of electricity possible, unleashing the power of Niagara Falls. However in the longer term, it looks like Edison’s direct current is winning the war.”

Karina Garbesi,Vagelis Vossos,& Hongxia She (“Catalog of DC Appliances and Power Systems,” Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Oct. 2011) wrote …

“In the hypothetical future direct-DC building, power from DC power systems or storage devices would be sent directly to DC appliances, rather than first converting it to AC. That is, power distribution within the house is in DC form. While such systems do not yet exist at the whole building scale, we note that some products are emerging on the commercial market that begin to approach this goal — namely, the Armstrong Flexzone ceiling system operating with Nextek Power Systems components and products.”

'Thomas Edison’s Revenge Coming Soon?' has 1 comment

  1. September 8, 2016 @ 2:35 pm Atom

    John Hewitt (“Tesla turns in his grave: Is it finally time to switch from AC to DC?,” Extreme Tech, Dec. 10, 2012) wrote …

    “Some new projects, such as the Three Gorges Dam in China (pictured right), and undersea transmission lines and longer spans in the western US are now planning to use DC transmission. The question is how far will this new trend go? It would sure be convenient to do away with all those DC wall chargers for phones and computers, so why not run the DC to the doorstep? Instead of three lines for three-phase industrial power, business would only need one power line in addition to ground.”–e-books.php


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