Grid Friendlyâ„¢ appliance controller licensed for market development


Richland, WA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 23, 2011 – A non-exclusive license has been granted by Battelle to start-up technology firm Encryptor of Plano, TX for a technology that will help soften the blow for utilities during times of peak demand on the grid by temporarily shifting when smart appliances use power.
Encryptor plans to incorporate the Grid Friendly appliance controller technology, which was developed at the Department of Energy’s Battelle operated Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, into a new, low cost electronic chip that can be easily built into appliances.

“One of our missions is to develop game changing technology and then transfer it to a useful purpose,” said Cheryl Cejka, PNNL’s director of technology commercialization. “This technology has tremendous potential as a low cost way of reducing stress on our nation’s electricity system by making our everyday appliances better users of energy.”

Encryptor plans to develop the technology within the next two to three years and then market it to appliance manufacturers as a highly capable, low cost chip.   

PNNL invented the controller with funding from DOE and Battelle patented it in 2008. The device senses conditions on the grid by monitoring the frequency and voltage of the system and provides automatic responses in times of power disruption or grid emergency.

Within the North American power grid, a disturbance of the nominal 60 Hz frequency is an indicator of serious imbalance between supply and demand that, if unarrested, could lead to a blackout. This simple computer chip can be installed in household appliances and turn them off for a few minutes, or even a few seconds, to allow the grid to stabilize.

The controllers can be programmed to autonomously react in fractions of a second when a disturbance is detected, whereas power plants take minutes to respond. They can even be programmed to delay restart to prevent all of them coming on at once after a power outage.