Smart grid technologies consist of a group of modernized electric utility systems that integrate computerized, automated, and remotely controlled capabilities. Using tried and true computer technologies that have seen widespread adoption in other industries, smart grid technologies have the potential to increase energy efficiency throughout the electrical grid, from power plants to end users.
Examples of smart grid technologies include hardware set up to communicate digitally with a central control facility. Sensors combined with automation enable utilities to monitor and adjust devices remotely. This makes it possible for the utility to examine usage, detect broken equipment, control voltages, and carry out many other functions in a more efficient manner. These technologies also promise to harden the grid against cyber-attacks and respond more effectively to the volatile output of energy sources such as wind and solar power to take advantage of their capabilities and mitigate their disadvantages.
About the Author
Daniel Sheflin has served as vice president of technology automation control solutions at Minnesota technology giant Honeywell for over 12 years. A former manager at General Electric, Daniel Sheflin takes a keen interest in smart grid technologies and served as chairman of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Smart Grid Federal Advisory Committee.
Daniel Sheflin serves Honeywell Automation Control Solutions in his capacity as chief technology officer. Prior to his current position, he was vice president of automation control solutions with Honeywell and general manager of engineering with General Electric. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently named Daniel Sheflin to its Smart Grid Advisory Committee.
The smart grid is an envisioned electrical network spanning the United States that delivers energy efficiently and securely by using state-of-the-art technology. The smart grid has been characterized as combining the old-fashion energy infrastructure with the internet. However, NIST provides a more comprehensive definition, and refers to the smart grid as a modernized solution that allows for bidirectional energy flows and two-way control capabilities that enhance services. The current grid allows for a one-way flow.
The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act officially recognized the importance of the smart grid to national development and put the project on the fast track. Even with full government support, such a complex initiative will take years to complete.
As vice-president of Technology Automation Control Solutions at Honeywell, Daniel Sheflin heads a division that is a world leader in wireless sensor solutions in home and industry. In this role, Daniel Sheflin is largely responsible for anticipating and meeting future demands for industrial wireless sensor networks.
Recent market studies have suggested that wireless sensor technology will significantly increase in coming years. An ON World survey of industrial automation professionals in 2012 suggests this is largely due to increasing industry awareness of the technology, improved reliability of such systems, and widespread adoption of standards. In fact, almost 60 percent of end user respondents indicated they were or soon would be using wireless sensor networks. According to two separate studies released in March and June 2013, the market for industrial wireless sensor networks is expected to grow by roughly 15 percent per year over the next five years.
The primary driving force behind this expansion is the very obvious fact that wireless solutions do not use wires. Such sensors are deployed for applications where wires are a hindrance: for rotating equipment, or inside furnaces, for example. In addition, wireless systems are easier to troubleshoot because it is simpler to isolate a problem at only the transmitting or receiving end, with no intervening hardware to complicate matters. Finally, wireless sensors are more cost effective, as they are easier to troubleshoot and also require less infrastructure, like conduits.
The advantages of wireless sensor networks will likely open up exciting and unanticipated new applications in the near-term, as the technology becomes more widely integrated into industrial processes across the board.
Known for his contributions to the development of wireless sensor technology and his work as the chairman of the Federal Smart Grid Advisory Committee, Daniel Sheflin is also a dedicated athlete and spends a significant amount of time cycling. Many of Daniel Sheflin’s fellow cyclists complain about tight hips, especially after long rides.
This tightness in the hips results from a particular posture that cyclists assume while riding. Many riders naturally fall into this position, but they can avoid problems with their hips by following a few key tips.
1. First, cyclists should always stretch before they ride and should pay special attention to the muscles in front of the hips known as the hip flexors.
2. While riding, cyclists should take notice of their spines and ensure that they maintain a gentle curve rather than hunching excessively, which focuses stress on the hips. A severely curved spine spreads stress throughout the body.
3. Cyclists should also peddle standing up for about 30 seconds ever 15 minutes or so, which temporarily relieves stress placed on the hips.
4. At the gym, individuals can strengthen their hip muscles by performing exercises that train the body to pivot at the hips, such as a Romanian deadlift, which also strengthens the gluteal muscles and the hamstrings.
In past years, Daniel Sheflin has worked with several well-known organizations, including Honeywell and General Electric. Prior to his professional career, Daniel Sheflin attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University at Buffalo.
Headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, General Electric operates as one of the oldest American corporations. Founded in 1892 by Thomas Edison, Elihu Thomson, Edwin Houston, and Charles Coffin, the company now stands-out as the sixth largest firm in the nation (by revenue) and is listed by Forbes Global 2000 as the third largest in the world.
General Electric has long worked with power generation and computing, placing many resources toward turbines, operating systems, and data control. Today, the company is led by Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and CEO. With research and development facilities located around the world, General Electric continues to pave the way in manufacturing, technology, and thermal systems. The organization also retains a ventures department, which works with new technologies and businesses to develop ideas and services for the future.
With a master of science in engineering, Daniel Sheflin has taken part in various important projects concerning wireless sensors, smart grid, and energy efficiency. Daniel Sheflin has operated as the general manager of engineering for General Electric and as the Vice President of Technology for the Automation Control Solutions Division of Honeywell.
While many individuals are aware of some basic ways to save energy at home, such as turning off lights and using efficient appliances, many are unaware of the many ways homes can be even more efficient and less costly in the long run. Described below are a few simple ways to improve energy efficiency where it counts.
1. Make sure there are no major air leaks in the home. These can be found in places like bathroom vents, water heater flues, and other places where openings are present.
2. Secure the perimeter of your home with calk or spray foam. Many homes built before 1980 likely will have places where cracks and holes have formed.
3. Make sure the fireplace flue does not have any holes or gaps.
4. Canister ceiling lights can often be inefficient. Replacement of bulbs or re-plastering can usually remedy the problem.