LVDC is Here to Stay
The times are a changing, and yes LVDC is here to stay. We know that AC power has been the backbone of all power distribution and utilization these past 150 Years. The war of the currents between Tesla and Edison ended the debate, with AC transmission proving to be more efficient and cost-effective. But things have drastically changed since Tesla and Edison.
Look at all of the equipment around you. You will see that most of us live in a DC world. We left incandescent lighting for fluorescent, and then fluorescent for LED. Each of these bulbs operate by means of an AC power source, with an AC/DC power supply internal to the lamp. With hundreds if not thousands of these bulbs in a modern hospital, think of all the wasted energy at each bulb where AC power is converted to DC, to power the Light Emitting Diode, (remember each power supply at each lamp, will suffer power loss during conversion).
DC Power Distribution
Now consider a DC power distribution system running to each floor of a building, with ceiling grids having DC power tracks to power up LED drop-in troffers. This is what Armstrong Ceiling Solutions is offering as integrated systems for lighting, sensors, and controls.
What about AC induction motors? Right now they account for over 50% of the loads found in commercial buildings. With the help of AC variable frequency drives (VFDs) many of these AC motors are operated by way of PWM (pulse width modulation, utilizing a DC power source; a DC bus internal to each drive.) With these drives becoming smaller, motors will eventually have built-in inverters, powered directly by DC, to be most efficient.
Renewable Energy and DC Current
The best argument for LVDC is renewable energy; renewable energy produces DC current. Conversion of this DC to AC power, generated by solar panels, micro-hydro turbines, and small wind turbines, always incurs power loss. The demand and increasing use of these DC renewable energy sources will force engineers, product developers and consumers, to give more place to DC technology.
If you could see ten years into the future, it is likely you would see a whole new set of standards, products, and services supporting LVDC technology. Contractors, electricians and service companies need to pay attention to this new technology, as it is already here today.
If you think DC was originally intended for limited-use, one only need look at the Delco brand 32 Volt systems of years ago. Visit www.delcolight.com, and you will see entire systems designed for rural use.
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