The Battle of Edison and Westinghouse Revisited: A Comparative Analysis of AC/DC Micro-grids for Rural Electrification
Presenter: Brian Edlefsen Lasch & Sebastian Groh, (Technische Universität Berlin, Germany)
| With a major push of distributed renewable energy as a means of electrification for off-grid populations, the controversy between AC- and DC-based systems has reached new momentum. Given that most of the distributed RE generators as well as batteries deliver DC power and that the majority of appliances being used in rural areas (can) run on DC, it follows that DC-based micro-grids are a logical and efficient choice as a solution for electrification. This hypothesis is analyzed in detail applying the new multi-tier approach to measuring energy access as introduced by ESMAP. Further, a case study is conducted on an innovative so-called DC nano-grid in Bangladesh as a real world test of practicability. Results show that a re-evaluation of current safety concerns is needed, and that system performances and efficiency leads to higher affordability of DC-based micro-grids, leading to their comparative advantage. Despite this, the dissemination of DC micro-grids still lags far behind AC micro-grids. This may be due to a number of reasons. Despite a long history, micro-grid implementations remain unstandardized and are still in their infancy. Given this relative immaturity, markets tend towards what is already familiar, such as the AC configuration that dominates utility grids, as originally promoted by Westinghouse. This leads to the conclusion that lock-in effects for AC power must still prevail despite the advantages of DC power and despite the greenfield environment of rural electrification in the Global South. .
- ↑ The Battle of Edison and Westinghouse Revisited: A Comparative Analysis of AC/DC Micro-grids for Rural Electrification.Sebastian Groh, Daniel Philipp, Brian Edlefsen Lasch, Hannes Kirchhoff, Didar Islam, M. Rezwan Khan, Shahriar Chowdhury and Daniel M. Kammen.