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Energy planners now talk about “citizen utilities” that would generate substantial power to complement the output of traditional utilities.

To facilitate this shift from traditional, centralized power plants to distributed local networks, a trio of Stanford researchers has developed ReMatch, a software tool to analyze the actual patterns of electrical demand and the potential generating capacity of every home in a neighborhood, and then design a cost-effective smart grid for that locale.

ReMatch was developed by Rishee Jain and Ram Rajagopal, assistant professors of civil and environmental engineering, and Junjie Qin, a graduate student at Stanford’s Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering.

The software analyzes exactly when each customer in a given market area is using electricity, and then allows planners to design a local infrastructure that matches the right mix of consumers with the right configuration of energy sources. In a paper published by the journal Nature Energy, the researchers tested their methodology by estimating the expected costs and savings of new infrastructure for 10,000 specific homes clustered around the San Francisco Bay Area.

What they found was that the mix of new energy sources suggested by the ReMatch model could reduce the total cost of electricity by aboåut 50% over the next 20 years. The new equipment would cost about $58 million, but it would save about $227 million in operational costs tied to purchases of fossil fuel. That works out to between 10 cents and 13 cents per kilowatt-hour with the new equipment, versus about 23 cents under the existing system.

The researchers say their estimates are conservative. The upfront costs were based on actual current costs of equipment and installation, compounded by a range of interest rates from 3% to 9%. If interest rates soared to 9% for the entire 20 years, which would effectively make the new infrastructure much more expensive, the savings would still be above 40%.

“The most important aspect of this model is that it shows the necessity of having a very granular understanding of consumer demand,” says Rajagopal.

There are 15 basic engine models in the line-up, with a huge range of variants to suit a massive array of different applications and installation requirements. Power outputs range from 8.8-10.2kW for the diminutive, two cylinder 402J-05 with its 0.5litre capacity right up to the six cylinder 28063-18, with a capacity of 18.1litres and power outputs from 423-470kW.

Perkins is using technologies that include common rail fuel systems, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), selective catalytic reduction (SCR), diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC) and diesel particulate filters (DPF). The systems used in these engines to deliver the ultra-low emissions performance varies, depending on the size. The two smallest units in the 400 Series are only offered in naturally aspirated versions so are much simpler, while the largest engines have turbochargers and after-cooling and are more complex. Those engines with power outputs of 56kW and over feature DOC and DPF, as well as DEF and SCR after-treatment systems.

The Stage V regulations come into force from January 2020 for engines with power outputs in the 56-560kW range and from January 2019 in Europe for all other power classes. The reduction in emissions is substantial. For a Stage V engine with a power output of 75kW, it will produce just 0.015 g/ of particulates, a 120th of the quantity generated by a non-regulated engine.

The company’s low cost engine monitoring system is called the SmartCap meanwhile and offers a simple and straightforward solution aimed at use with small items of rental equipment. This novel connectivity device can be used with both mechanical and electronic engines and is an oil filler cap that features a small circuit and battery located inside. The electronic circuit in the SmartCap can be used to monitor engine hours and can be linked to a smartphone through Bluetooth technology using an app. By standing within 10m of the machine, a user can download engine hour data and check on service reminders. The system can also be used to geolocate a piece of equipment, as long as the user’s phone is equipped with the app. The company claims that at €46, this offers a simple and low cost alternative to the more costly and sophisticated telematics packages now fitted to larger machines. When rental machines are returned from hire, fleet managers can quickly record engine hour data and update service records. At the moment, the system does not record engine speed but this may be made available in the future.

OSAKA -- Once Murata Manufacturing completes its acquisition of Sony's battery operations Friday, the new owner will lavish 50 billion yen ($453 million) on overseas production sites to supercharge the business against global rivals.

That money will bolster battery factories in Singapore and the Chinese city of Wuxi, with the investments running through the fiscal year ending in March 2020. The plants will receive electrode processing equipment as well as testing gear. Sony had delayed updating the facilities due to curbs on capital spending.

Murata will continue investing roughly 20 billion yen annually afterward. The Japanese producer of electronic components seeks to expand its supplies of smartphone batteries, as well as cylinder types used in power tools and vacuum cleaners.

The company, which specializes in smartphone components, controls a 15% global share in smartphone and tablet batteries, with plans to expand that slice to 20-30%. Murata aims to be the top battery supplier to the three largest smartphone makers, including Apple Inc.

Murata's automotive plans involve making the leap into engine anti-idle functions as well as batteries for on-board electrical components. The company also will commercialize all-solid-state batteries, which reduce the risk of fires, for use in smartwatches and other wearable devices.

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