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Renewable Energy Microgrids — Possible Solution to our Energy Problems

For the future of humanity to survive, there is a need for a climate that will foster life. This statement means that we need to do something to stop global warming and climate change. And the only feasible way to stop and even reverse the process is to stop our dependence on fossil fuel. For us to accomplish this step, we will need to create a lot more carbon-free power. Then we will also need to connect this green energy to all of our energy uses, especially the transportation sector. Notably, things are looking good so far as the world, in general, has been made aware of carbon emission problems. In fact, the ozone layer is healing according to NASA s is great news. Such a fact means that the current movement towards renewable energy is slowly taking effect. However, for this case to become a permanent change, we need to ramp up on our efforts—most particularly, in renewable energy microgrids.

The Looming Problem

We all need a renewable grid, but that is not the only problem. Today’s modern society is very much dependent on computers and their ability to connect to the internet. This case means that we need a power grid that is reliable and always on so that these systems can always connect. At this point, power outages can literally cost lives, as our hospitals and security systems all rely on electricity.

The most common renewable sources of energy that we have at our disposal are wind and solar energy. Unfortunately, solar energy is not generated at night, and wind sources come and go with the weather. These are literary at Mother Nature’s whim. So it is up to us to play along with the fluctuating output of energy. However, as the recent hurricanes have proven, blackouts can still happen when the weather takes a turn for the extreme. These recent power outages show that we also need a sturdier power grid that can withstand the forces of nature or at least be easy to repair so that they can be up and running immediately. All of these factors combined means that this situation is actually a three-fold problem as we need a green, reliable and sturdy power grid. Surprisingly, the solution to this seemingly herculean task is the small and unassuming renewable energy microgrids.

Renewable Energy Microgrids — What is a microgrid?

The microgrid is literally just a small power grid. All a grid really needs is a power source, users, a connection, and some way to control the flow of power. These microgrids are small areas that are independent when it comes to electricity and do not need to connect to any larger grids to function.

While most renewable energy microgrids are still connected to the area’s main power grid, they have a switch that enables them to function on their own and isolate them from the larger grid. This fact means that in case of a blackout in the main grid, they can simply isolate themselves and keep their power running. Now, that’s a bold system where reliability meets renewability!

With that system in mind, a series of interconnected microgrids that all rely on renewable energy will be able to distribute power evenly throughout the entire grid but can isolate themselves to be self-sustaining when the need arises. Right now, most microgrids are literally small—meaning, they’re one-building setups that use diesel fuel such as a gas-powered generator inside hospitals. However, with enough technological advancements, the idea of aggregated renewable energy microgrids isn’t too far off.

Anesthesia for Eye Surgery: On Improving Retinal Anesthesia Technology

Most people are deathly afraid of getting injections. An intravitreal injection (IVT) is a procedure where anesthesia is injected right into the eye before surgery. Even the bravest person thinks twice about getting anesthesia for eye surgery this way.

Developing New Tech In Relation To Anesthesia for Eye Surgery

Gun-ho Kim, a thermal engineer from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, is looking to manufacture and sell a new form of anesthesia for the retina with technology based on “rapid precision tissue cooling.” Kim is a leader and founder of Recens Medical, an Ulsan-based medical tech startup. Through this company, Kim is developing the technology for this highly precise, rapid cooling system which will immediately freeze the retinal cells keeping them under anesthesia for a small period of time.

Through this new technology, they are hoping to significantly decrease the level of anxiety felt by patients. For the anesthetic process to work, the patient will have to wait a considerable amount of time for the anesthesia for eye surgery to kick in. In fact, the patient waits longer in this procedure than the length of the actual operation. And that’s on top of the pain and anxiety associated with the fear of looking straight at a needle that is about to pierce your eye.

Decreasing Anxiety and Cost

In a recent interview with Kim, he said that with the current retinal anesthesia technology available now, it takes up more than 50 percent of the time for the entire IVT surgery. The rapid cooling technology hopes to decrease the waiting time which will allow the doctors to do more and save the patients a lot of money and time.

Indeed, it causes so much anxiety that studies have been made so a combo of meds will be administered to limit patient movement during retinal detachment surgery under local anesthesia. The biggest difficulty when doing ophthalmic surgery under local anesthesia is the patient’s movement which is why they try to use a combination of remifentanil and propofol to sedate the patient.

Right now, the tech is still in the works. But the company hopes that it will be able to make an all-in-one version of the device that will deliver the anesthesia for eye surgery and administer the main drug in its proper dose. This way, doctors will be able to anesthetize and immediately do the procedure. Not only will this save up on time and money, but it will also decrease the risk of infections as well. Such a fact surely has a bold impact in healthcare!

Smart Circuit Breakers In Use for Smart Homes

A circuit breaker in your home is an essential device. It will cut the power whenever too much current flows through an electrical wiring. This protects your home from potential fires caused by electricity overload and equipment failures.

How Breakers Work

Most of today’s circuit breakers in homes are simple electromechanical devices sitting idle in the basement. They function also as the distribution points for all the wires in the house. The breakers monitor the power and light sockets in the different parts of the house, with separate breakers regulating the individual appliances. Because of this function, it has the great potential to manage energy use in the house.

Smart circuit breakers–safe, reliable, and are rising as a multi-million dollar business

Circuit breakers are a multimillion-dollar business and their future looks bright and promising. The global market for circuit breakers can grow to as much as $19 billion by the end of this decade. New versions that feature computing power and wireless connectivity will transform it into a device that will be more like a smartphone or a smart meter.

The smart circuit breaker creates a bold impact in the market. It allows utility companies and building owners to track power supplied by the grid and the on-site distribution of energy resources. When most of the buildings have smart circuit breakers, they will be able to augment or replace equipment that utilities and buildings are using today.

Adding Electronics

A circuit breaker is made smart by adding electronics to it. That’s the idea behind the field trial conducted by Eaton’s energy management circuit breaker (EMCB). Eaton, the giant electrical equipment manufacturer deployed smart circuit breakers last year in 500 homes connected with various US utilities. It will be working with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to determine the viability of accurately collecting and sharing data, receiving and sending control to other smart equipment such as water heaters and thermostats, including shifting homes on and off the power grids during emergencies.

Studies are ongoing to understand the potential value and functionality of the device to control solar power and storage. The smart circuit breaker will also be functional in electric vehicle application because these will work with the 240-volt EV charging equipment.

The Digital Breaker

A digital breaker lacks mechanical parts, making it safer and more reliable. It can cut circuit in 250 nanoseconds, a lot faster than the mechanical breaker. The program running the digital breaker has online updates, allowing the addition of new features. And like most smart-energy devices, it has a smart home app to control the digital circuit breaker.

The smart circuit breaker has an impressive array of capabilities, such as the ability to measure the rpm of the refrigerator’s compressor. It will detect how hard an appliance is working and also warn about an impending breakdown.

The smart circuit breaker is a useful innovation, but its success will depend largely on how manufacturers can produce solid-state breakers at the cheapest price possible. If the electronic circuits are into a single chip, the manufacturer could save a lot of dollars and sell the device at a very low price.

Different electrical giants are betting on this new technology, investing money for the development of the circuit breaker that will revolutionize the industry.

Graphair Water Filter — A Graphene Film Making Polluted Water Drinkable

Studies say that humans can live without food for 3 days. But without water, 7 days is already too long for any human to survive. Around 844 million people around the world do not have access to clean and drinkable water, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The lack of drinkable water is also not the only problem. Many also face the threat of the following diseases known to be caused by polluted water: typhoid, diarrhea, polio, dysentery and cholera. And most of the victims of these ailments, unfortunately, are kids. These daunting facts have triggered a team of Australian researchers to develop a new form of technology that has the ability to purify water in just a single step. Thus, enters the existence of the Graphair water filter.

Indeed, the scientists and researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)—a well-known agency accountable for scientific research in Australia—have made a major breakthrough after they created Graphair.

A Bold Solution: Graphair Water Filter

Graphair is a type of graphene that filters water. Unlike other methods of cleaning water, it makes even dirty seawater drinkable in just one process or filter.

Graphene is deemed as the world’s strongest material as it acts as a tremendous conductor of both electricity and heat. Nevertheless, who would have thought that a one-atom-thick resilient carbon material—which is very expensive to generate—could be a valuable water filter?

According to Dr. Dong Han Seo, the lead author of the Graphair technology and a scientist at CSIRO: “In Graphair, we’ve found a perfect filter for water purification. It can replace the complex, time-consuming, and multi-stage processes currently needed with a single step.” He also adds, “This technology can create clean drinking water, regardless of how dirty it is, in a single step.”

All About Graphair

Graphair is much more affordable and easier to produce than graphene. It is composed of a graphene film with microscopic nano-channels that lets the water pass through and prevents larger contaminants like salt. Graphair is also faster than other methods. In comparison with other water filtration method, the filtration rate of a Graphair water filter is longer because it has membranes that are 4 cm2 in size, managing about 0.5 liters a day.

This breakthrough technology—in relation to the Graphair water filter —is made from soybean oil and was actually completed last year. But it formulated a name for itself only after Graphair became successful in its attempt to purify the water from Sydney Harbour. Sydney Harbour is considered one of the world’s most beautiful waterways. However, in Australia, researchers believe that is it also one of the most heavily polluted. The study shows that the Graphair had filtered the water in just a single pass, making it clean and drinkable.

a photo of a gray and white drawing of a Graphair water filter system with arrows and words
Graphair makes it possible for clean water to be available anytime, anywhere

Scientists and researchers from the University of Technology Sydney, University of Sydney, and the Queensland University of Technology helped the team from CSIRO to create the graphene film—that is, the Graphair water filter. They are now hoping that industry leaders and partners will help them discover other ways of how graphene could be used in people’s everyday lives.

Companies Filling-In The Market Of Graphene 

Following are some of the companies, big and small that are delving into the world of graphene:

  • Accurion –The Germany-based company creates and supplies top-line Active Vibration Isolation and Imaging Ellipsometry equipment, which is a measuring device for graphene. The company was established because of a merger between Nanofilm Technology and Halcyonics.
  • Cambridge Graphene – Founded in 2014, the company was a spin-off from Cambridge University in order to sell graphene inks. The production method of Cambridge Graphene is centered on a liquid-phase exfoliation technology that has the ability to change graphite into graphene using a water-based solution.
  • Das-nano – The company is based in Spain and manufactures nanomaterial inspection tools. When it comes to the industry of graphene, Das-nano bids its Onyx system—which can be utilized to get information on the homogeneity and consistency of graphene supplies.
  • Intel – Intel Corporation is a well-known company in the United States that develops semiconductor chips. Notably, the company is also an avid fan of the graphene. Reports have suggested that Intel wants graphene to be incorporated in their electronic devices.

These are just some of the companies that use the prowess of graphene to help innovate the way people live.

In the Future of the Technology of the Graphair Water Filter

CSIRO researchers and scientists are still in the first stage of what could be a phenomenal discovery. With the great technology that the world is experiencing now, Graphair will have the capability to be enhanced even more, especially on the matter of a Graphair water filter. Thus, it can surely help the world survive the need for clean, safe water.

The bold idea to purify water in just a single filter is a little bit ambitious and unrealistic. But because of the continuous effort made by concerned organizations, impossible things will still always be possible.