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Grid Friendly Appliance™ Controller

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Contact PNNL About This Technology

A coin-sized integrated circuit developed by researchers at PNNL may help solve the nation's overworked electricity grid.
A coin-sized integrated circuit developed by researchers at PNNL may help solve the nation's overworked electricity grid.

Technology Marketing Summary

The Grid Friendly Appliance controller developed at PNNL senses grid conditions by monitoring the frequency of the system and provides automatic demand response in times of disruption.

Description

Within the North American power grid a disturbance of 60-Hz frequency is an indicator of serious imbalance between supply and demand that, if unarrested, leads to a blackout. This simple computer chip can be installed in household appliances and turn them off for a few minutes or even a few seconds to allow the grid to stabilize. The controllers can be programmed to autonomously react in fractions of a second when a disturbance is detected, whereas power plants take minutes to come up to speed. They can even be programmed to delay restart instead of all coming on at once after a power outage to ease power restoration.

Benefits
  • More reliable power grids are less costly to run
  • Smaller electricity bills for consumers
  • More efficient power plant use
  • Inexpensive
  • Provides a foundation for future grid management


By integrating the controllers with appliances at the factory, costs can be reduced to a few dollars per appliance and customers will not even notice the short interruption (by turning the compressor off, but leaving the light on in a refrigerator, for example).

When a communication system becomes available beyond the power grid, the "smarts" for this system are already on board the appliances to do much more sophisticated negotiation and control, such as reducing peak loads. This simple, cost effective technology becomes an island of new technology from which ever more sophisticated aspects of GridWise can grow.

Applications and Industries

Household appliance industry

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 7,010,363
Patent
7,010,363
Electrical appliance energy consumption control methods and electrical energy consumption systems
Electrical appliance energy consumption control methods and electrical energy consumption systems are described. In one aspect, an electrical appliance energy consumption control method includes providing an electrical appliance coupled with a power distribution system, receiving electrical energy within the appliance from the power distribution system, consuming the received electrical energy using a plurality of loads of the appliance, monitoring electrical energy of the power distribution system, and adjusting an amount of consumption of the received electrical energy via one of the loads of the appliance from an initial level of consumption to an other level of consumption different than the initial level of consumption responsive to the monitoring.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory 03/07/2006
Issued
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
12782-E, 13538-BPrototype - The Grid Friendly Appliance Controller has been developed and tested at PNNL. It is ready for licensing and installation in the next generation of appliances. PNNL is currently working with appliance manufacturers and utilities to use Grid Friendly Appliances in a variety of test-bed and demonstration projects.Available06/30/201006/30/2010

Contact PNNL About This Technology

To: Jennifer Hodas<jennifer.hodas@pnnl.gov>