Bryan Hannegan is picturing the home of the future. In his imagination, it’s not in outer space, or shaped like a giant geodesic dome. This home talks to itself, and to what’s around it. “The dishwasher could talk to the electric vehicle in the garage, it could talk to the solar PV system on the roof,” said Hannegan, a scientist at National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.
After a slow rollout for the Coachella Valley Association of Governments’ energy-efficiency loan program, Indio and Desert Hot Springs have invited a competing program to make a play for valley homeowners.
Key to the innovation is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery, and a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery electrode. Inside the device, light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery.
On Friday I took a ride home from a stranger in his car, Saturday morning I bought food on the street from someone I don’t know, and this winter I might vacation in the home of a family I’ve never met. It’s not crazy, its Uber, my farmer’s market, and Airbnb. It’s the sharing economy, and electricity could be next.
Swiss engineering group ABB has developed technology that can double the power flow of underground cables, making it cheaper to integrate electricity into the grid from distant offshore wind farms.