British researchers transmit data via national electricity grid for the first time: A step towards smart, virtual power grids

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Scientists in the United Kingdom have conducted the first ever data transmission through a national electricity grid. The feat, according to the researchers, could pave the way for virtual power grids that constantly monitor the energy usage of businesses and households, notifying them during cases of excessive consumption. By using conventional electricity grid for sending data across distances, the new technology eliminates the need for additional infrastructure, making installation quick and cheap.

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The team made use of 20 receivers of the national grid to transmit data signals, all of which was successfully received at the end of the test. The main advantage of this innovative technology is that it could bring down energy bills by cutting off sudden increases in power usage that in turn put strains on the electrical grid. What’s more, the system could help do away with dirty generators that provide extra energy during peak times.

Developed by Reactive Technologies (RT), the Grid Data and Measurement System (GDMS) functions like a thermostat, monitoring the household’s energy use and notifying the owners to change settings during excessive consumption. The technique, the scientists revealed, could command the freezer to increase its temperature by 0.5 degrees Celsius or prompt the water heater to operate during the middle of the night when the overall energy usage is low, as means to conserve power and lower costs.

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Although it is based on meter readings of energy, the data of houses is recorded anonymously, in order to protect the homeowners’ privacy. The technology could also help reduce wastage of energy. According to a report by the British government’s National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), integrating a smart virtual grid could save up to $9.8 billion (around £8 billion) by 2030 in the UK alone.

Speaking about the many advantages of the GDMS technology, the researchers revealed that it could also help lower our dependence on environmentally-harmful fossil fuels by eliminating the need for diesel-based generators.

Via: The Guardian

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