An “operating system for electricity”

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
7,469
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/6/5/17373314/electricity-technology-efficiency-software-waste-3dfs
By now, many BS detectors will be ringing at full volume. I get it. This sounds like magic beans.

And this is a field full of magic beans. Manifestos promising revolutionary energy solutions (if only The Establishment weren’t suppressing them) abound. I get those emails myself.

3DFS tech directly challenges a lot of conventional wisdom in the field and involves a technology and a level of data that are genuinely new, such that basically nobody beyond 3DFS has experience with them. It makes it difficult to consult outside experts — the best I got was, “Well, I don’t hear anything that sounds impossible...” — and quite rightly inspires a heightened level of skepticism. One professor of electrical engineering, when I mentioned that 3DFS believes DOE numbers on energy waste are mistaken, became enraged and literally hung up on me.
If it proves out, the implications of what 3DFS calls “software-defined electricity” (SDE) are almost beyond reckoning. To begin with, recovering some or most of the lost electricity on the grid would amount to finding a huge new source of zero-carbon power — a powerful resource in the fight against climate change.
...
It promises to hasten electrification of the economy, radically reduce infrastructure costs, and open up new lines of science and inquiry. It is not exaggerating to say that it could change our relationship to electricity more than anything since the days of Nikola Tesla.
I don't know if it's possible to use more buzz words in an article. What exactly do you mean when you say 'electricity' in a supposedly scientific explanation of a technology? We don't generate 'electricity', we use the existing electricity in matter to transform and/or transport electrical energy. The KE of 'current electricity' (usually electrons) is a loss factor in the transmission of electrical field energy but the VOX article mixes the two into a unrecognizable mess if you're looking for actual engineering details of software-defined electricity.

http://amasci.com/miscon/maxwell.html

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,053
One of the classic approaches used by con men is to accurately identify their scam for exactly what it is and then tell you that their scam isn't that scam at all. It's surprisingly effective -- people assume that no one running a scam would dare bring attention to the possibility that their scam actually IS a scam, and so they MUST be telling the truth when they tell you that it isn't.

The Social Security website tells you that Social Security is NOT a Ponzi scheme and then proceeds to tell you what a Ponzi scheme is and their description pretty accurately describes how Social Security works -- but then they conclude by claiming that Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme.

You hear the same thing on infomercials and radio commercials all the time.

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
21,637
Wastage - the same argument can be applied to just about every aspect of human activities. There are huge leakage and wastage in our water supply system, food supply chain, and (here it comes at the top of the list), our monetary system. $21 trillion !!! of US government spending have gone missing and cannot be accounted for. Today, my hot dog lunch cost me$6, up from \$4 last year. Governments love inflation. They can pay off last year's debt with inflated dollars!

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
7,469
One of the classic approaches used by con men is to accurately identify their scam for exactly what it is and then tell you that their scam isn't that scam at all. It's surprisingly effective -- people assume that no one running a scam would dare bring attention to the possibility that their scam actually IS a scam, and so they MUST be telling the truth when they tell you that it isn't.

The Social Security website tells you that Social Security is NOT a Ponzi scheme and then proceeds to tell you what a Ponzi scheme is and their description pretty accurately describes how Social Security works -- but then they conclude by claiming that Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme.

You hear the same thing on infomercials and radio commercials all the time.
I don't know if it's a total scam or pie in the sky tale for investors but the spokesman here has a strong smell of snake oil electrons

cdoerfler

Joined Jun 9, 2018
4
Hey guys, I appreciate the kind words. Shall we have a conversation, or is this just a forum to hate on new tech without any experience or undestanding?

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
6,532
What is it and how does it work?

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
7,469
Hey guys, I appreciate the kind words. Shall we have a conversation, or is this just a forum to hate on new tech without any experience or undestanding?
I think the tech has possibilities (but not unique possibilities) for AC power factor correction and harmonic reduction as stated but the media presentations of the technology is loaded with terms like electricity, electrons and efficiencies being used in ways that trigger a negative response to people with a basic understanding of electrodynamics and understand what's possible vs what's probable. Maybe the media presentation was tailored to a target audience without any experience or understanding of electricity instead of a forum of people who do understand the differences between electrical energy and 'electricity' as a scientific field of study or the SI unit called the coulomb.

cdoerfler

Joined Jun 9, 2018
4
I will start high level and work down. The technology synchronizes electricity in multi-phase power networks by leveraging Real-Time computing to measure and adjust electricity at the panel level to precisely match the microsecond demand of each load simultaneously.

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
7,469
Exactly what does 'synchronizes electricity' mean? Does it mean you have an electrical energy source (tapped from the utility power panel) that corrects voltage/current waveform changes from non-linear or reactive loads past the panel while providing a linear resistive load to the utility power source? You sample voltage and current at the microsecond rate (easily done with modern micro-controllers) but what actual improvement over 16x line frequency or millisecond sampling and correction is possible with realistic load profiles?

cdoerfler

Joined Jun 9, 2018
4
Exactly what does 'synchronizes electricity' mean? Does it mean you have an electrical energy source (tapped from the utility power panel) that corrects voltage/current waveform changes from non-linear or reactive loads past the panel while providing a linear resistive load to the utility power source? You sample voltage and current at the microsecond rate (easily done with modern micro-controllers) but what actual improvement over 16x line frequency or millisecond sampling and correction is possible with realistic load profiles?
By synchronizes electricity, let's take a specific example. A motor control center.

Our technology would be installed into the motor control center, 1 proprietary current transformer will be installed around each incoming phase and a voltage connection will be made on each phase. Neutral and ground will be connected as will a standard internet connection.

Once the device is turned on, the voltage and current is perfectly in phase for the entire MCC, including all of the loads. The power factor for every load will be unity. Harmonics will be maintained under 2%. The phases will be perfectly balanced. There will be no neutral/ground current. All of the motors will operate at tag value at all times, no matter how non-linearly they operate.

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
7,469
By synchronizes electricity, let's take a specific example. A motor control center.

Our technology would be installed into the motor control center, 1 proprietary current transformer will be installed around each incoming phase and a voltage connection will be made on each phase. Neutral and ground will be connected as will a standard internet connection.

Once the device is turned on, the voltage and current is perfectly in phase for the entire MCC, including all of the loads. The power factor for every load will be unity. Harmonics will be maintained under 2%. The phases will be perfectly balanced. There will be no neutral/ground current. All of the motors will operate at tag value at all times, no matter how non-linearly they operate.
I guess it's a matter of degree of possible improvement over what's on the market now in one location in a set load type environment of many loads. We can do that now with standard normal passive power factor correction and harmonic reduction using capacitors and inductive harmonic filters at loads (most efficient) and/or at power panels or use Automatic compensators to correct for power factor correction and harmonic reduction at those locations.
http://www.eaton.com/ecm/groups/public/@pub/@electrical/documents/content/sa02607001e.pdf
https://library.e.abb.com/public/4704e67320c08992c1257870002e4700/1SDC007107G0202.pdf

cdoerfler

Joined Jun 9, 2018
4
I guess it's a matter of degree of possible improvement in one location in a set load type environment of many loads. We can do that now with standard normal passive power factor correction and harmonic reduction using capacitors and inductive harmonic filters at loads (most efficient) and/or at power panels or use Automatic compensators to correct for power factor correction and harmonic reduction at those locations.
http://www.eaton.com/ecm/groups/public/@pub/@electrical/documents/content/sa02607001e.pdf
https://library.e.abb.com/public/4704e67320c08992c1257870002e4700/1SDC007107G0202.pdf
It is about efficiency and result. Using computing precisely corrects power factor, harmonics, and phase balancing and does so at 98% efficiency.

Using capacitors is at a ceiling 50% efficient, plus is nowhere near precise. The same is true for harmonic filters, and there is no solution for phase balancing.

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
7,469
Efficiency is the ratio of the energy output of a device to the energy input, expressed as a percentage. I don't think you are telling us 50% of input power being wasted as heat and vibration after passive power correction to an inductive load like a motor so what does that 50% figure really mean? Is it a amps/VA reduction used to fool people with the residential power saver box scam or a true power watts reduction? There are limits to simple passive correction with complex loads like switching supplies necessitating active power factor correction circuits inside modern devices. Regulatory requirements like EN61000-3-2 and Energy Star have requirements for PFC.

https://www.nec.com/en/global/prod/express/rack/r120e-1m/collateral/Datasheet_R120e-1M.pdf

We need to be careful that valid engineering claims are backed by solid evidence so we don't confuse them with scams like below.

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BR-549

Joined Sep 22, 2013
4,938
I don't think it will work. It's at the wrong end. The adjustment propagation would take too long to effect the load.

One would need a adjuster/conditioner right before every load. That's the only way to keep grid clean.

All of the noise, phase and interference comes from the loads....not the distribution.

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
7,469
I don't think it will work. It's at the wrong end. The adjustment propagation would take too long to effect the load.

One would need a adjuster/conditioner right before every load. That's the only way to keep grid clean.

All of the noise, phase and interference comes from the loads....not the distribution.
I'm not saying the technology doesn't work or is a scam but some of the public information seems to be modeled on some sleight of hand with numbers that seem to mislead the true meaning of the extra efficiency and savings over what's on the market now.
It won't save you a ton of money by increasing the efficiency of devices as real power used remains the same (with maybe some small improvement in wiring I/R losses) with correction but correction devices can save you money if you pay for Var instead of kWh (residential customers). That's why almost all large commercial and industrial users of electrical energy already have devices on their internal distribution network while Energy Star devices already have active PFC with up to a 0.99 PF rating to reduce utility var demands.

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,053
By synchronizes electricity, let's take a specific example. A motor control center.

Our technology would be installed into the motor control center, 1 proprietary current transformer will be installed around each incoming phase and a voltage connection will be made on each phase. Neutral and ground will be connected as will a standard internet connection.

Once the device is turned on, the voltage and current is perfectly in phase for the entire MCC, including all of the loads. The power factor for every load will be unity. Harmonics will be maintained under 2%. The phases will be perfectly balanced. There will be no neutral/ground current. All of the motors will operate at tag value at all times, no matter how non-linearly they operate.
Let's take a simpler example.

Connect three purely resistive loads across the phases. One that draws 10 kW, one that draws 1 kW, and the third that draws 100 kW.

Your claim is that the phases will be perfectly balanced.

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
7,469
Let's take a simpler example.

Connect three purely resistive loads across the phases. One that draws 10 kW, one that draws 1 kW, and the third that draws 100 kW.

Your claim is that the phases will be perfectly balanced.

Why should that be a problem , the technical specs say power is 'Unlimited'.
https://www.3dfs.com/products/correction
Technical Specifications of VectorQ Series

Full +/- 90 deg of phase angle correction
Unlimited power rating in all phases
THD correction better than 5%
Automatic phase balancing >95%
Continuous surge and lightning protection
We all know there are limits to the energy storage capacity this load balancing system but finding that information has so far been impossible.

Hymie

Joined Mar 30, 2018
846
I particularly like the following sentence from their link:-

‘A microsecond is about a millionth of a second.’

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
6,532
Rather than piling on, let's wait for a response to the questions asked so far, please.

AnalogKid

Joined Aug 1, 2013
8,534
Using computing precisely corrects power factor, harmonics, and phase balancing and does so at 98% efficiency.
How?

You keep saying what it will do, but not how. "using computing" is a child's explanation. Since you are changing the phase characteristics of kilowatts of energy, what are the power devices/components that the "computing" is controlling?

Also, there is a *huge* difference between power factor correcting the input of an AC-to-DC conversion stage, and correcting something that has an AC output of the same voltage and frequency.

ak