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Smart Grid is Top Technology

The smart solid-state transformer being developed by the NSF FREEDM Systems Center at NC State has been named to MIT Technology Review’s 2011 list of the world’s 10 most important emerging technologies.

Smart transformers, which are more efficient and adaptive than transformers commonly used on the power grid today, will soon have a profound impact on how we live and work. The magazine says technologies on the “TR10” list promise fundamental shifts in areas ranging from energy to health care to communications.

Controlling the Flow of Power

“Smart grid technology could make electrical power more reliable, and make it easier to integrate renewables such as solar and wind,” said Stephen Cass, special projects editor for Technology Review.

He noted that the technology could also eliminate spikes and reduce the number of power plants required, as well as make it easier to support things like residential solar installations, or large fleets of hybrid and electric vehicles.

The smart transformer “represents a major advance for smart grids, allowing the flow of electricity to be controlled and rerouted in a manner similar to how data is routed around the Internet,” he added.

A Power Revolution

“We are honored that our work has been recognized during these exciting times in the electric power systems field,” said Dr. Alex Huang, the center’s director.

Formed in 2008 by a five-year, $18.5 million Engineering Research Center grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center is headquartered at NC State and includes faculty and facilities at seven universities in the US and Europe. Its goal is to revolutionize the nation’s power grid and speed renewable energy technologies into every home and business.

Established in 1899, Technology Review is the world’s oldest technology magazine. The 2011 TR10 is featured in the May/June edition of the magazine and is posted on its website.