Power for the People

A Sunday morning idea. 

Looking around my house at the things which we use which use electricity and I got to thinking. Bear with me on my flight of fantasy here.  

Global warming is happening, man made or otherwise.  I believe we’re contributing to it and ought to be thinking of ways to reduce the electricity we use. As we depend on more computers, tablets phones, routers, monitors it seems unlikely that we’ll actually reduce the electricity we use.  So how about changing, drastically, how we made, distribute and use it?   What if we really, as a mass society, could make a step change in how we do this?  

Many devices are essentially battery powered so only need to be recharged, so we have wall-wart transformers to the 5v DC these devices need.  Others are 12v DC. The latest adverts for vacuum cleaners ‘break the cord’ so that’s another device which runs on batteries. 

But what if…….we built houses with DC ring mains?  Not instead of 240v AC but as well as.  What if every house, factory, office had to be built with photovoltaic cells feeding into a DC ring?  All lighting, LED of course, would run from this DC ring, as would as many devices as we can make which will do away with the need for a transformer.   What things do we have which really need 240v?  Washing machines?  Almost everything else has transformers and power supplies which take three mains down to a DC level. 

So why not do away with all the transformers and have DC rings? Is this what Tesla is doing with their battery walls and solar tiles? If so, more power (pun intended) to them.  Wouldn’t such a house (or office) really be a worthy “Grand Design”,  just as Armstrong’s Cragside House was back in the days.  

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