Alex, Monitoring is definitely a key to more effectively managing energy efficiency in plants. If you can identify savings, you can justify the expenditures that will save in the long term. But avoiding peak demand is the real payback area, when costs spike on those hot summer afternoons. Low hanging fruit when it comes to more effective energy management.
Energy Usage has been an important subject for a long time in many different industries. We are just now beginning to provide adequate software and hardware mechanisms to monitor energy consumption in our computer centers. Years ago I worked in semiconductor manufacturing and everytime we had new servers added to the manufacturing environment we had to get approval from the local government agencies because of its impact on the power grid. And yet with all of this monitoring I can't help but notice that we still waste a lot of energy. Our servers generate a lot of heat and the rooms have to stay cool to keep the servers running. It would be nice if that heat can be redirected to other parts of the building. We should have smart monitoring mechanisms that can help us use energy more effeciently.
This is a hugely important story as implementation of energy efficiency strategies become a focus at plants everywhere. Closely related is the shift to alternative energy sources. For more on that, I invite you to check out the new Webcast, "Clean Energy: Wind, Solar, or Biofuels?" (we talk about batteries, too) I hosted with guest Brian MacCleery, Principal product manager for clean energy technology at National Instruments.
In my previous position, I had noticed more and more customers requesting some type of energy monitoring. This serves 2 purposes. One, of course, is cost. However, the other was to make sure what we were saying in our sales presentations was actually what we were delivering.
I would imagine that real-time data on energy usage would have the additional benefit of being an alert to the health of the plant. I would think a spike in usage could be an early sign of breakdowns -- or coming breakdowns -- on the line.
The 100% solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse 2 is prepping for its upcoming flight, becoming the first plane to fly around the world without using fuel. It's able to do so because of above-average performance by all of the technologies that go into it, especially materials.
With major product releases coming from big names like Sony, Microsoft, and Samsung, and big investments by companies like Facebook, 2015 could be the year that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) finally pop. Here's take a look back at some of the technologies that got us here (for better and worse).
Good engineering designs are those that work in the real world; bad designs are those that don’t. If we agree to set our egos aside and let the real world be our guide, we can resolve nearly any disagreement.
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