Dartmouth Professors Look to Turn the Energy Grid into a Shared Platform
Two professors at Dartmouth College, a NEC member, are exploring ways to revolutionize the energy grid by utilizing unused energy.
Professors Geoffrey Parker and Amro Farid, both of whom recently joined the Dartmouth faculty, have spent their careers looking for ways to improve energy efficiency. The basis of their research revolves around the idea that there are three different types of power in an energy grid – real energy, reactive power and reserve power. A shortcoming of many renewable energy sources is the dependence on reserve power when energy supply is low so the Dartmouth professors will be researching ways to capture unused energy from buildings and houses to fill those gaps. They aim to create a shared energy platform to connect “all the little things” that use energy that will have mechanisms to measure supply and demand to know where energy can be taken from and how much is needed. This would not only be cleaner, but would also prove to be cost effective for many of the participating stakeholders.
“If you think about Uber or Airbnb, they are really taking spare capacity in the economy and matching it with demand,” says Parker, a professor of engineering and director of the Master of Engineering Management program. “In the energy system, especially on the demand side, there is a lot of capacity that is idle or not being used as much as it might because there is no platform to get that capacity to do something valuable.”