Policy / Systems / Technology

December 27, 2012


World's First Digital Grid Router Controls Electricity 'Packets,' Boosts Grid Access for Renewables

Keywords: Environmental Technology Manufacturing industry 

The Digital Grid Consortium, a nonprofit Japanese incorporated association, represented by Professor Rikiya Abe at the Graduate School of the University of Tokyo, announced on September 13, 2012, that it has completed a prototype of an electricity router, the first of its kind in the world. It accommodates electricity needs through a network system similar to the Internet. Abe has long been an advocate of the "digital grid" concept, which will boost the potential for decentralized, stand-alone power supply systems and facilitate the greater use of renewable energy.

The router is a key component of digital grid technology. It connects stand-alone power supply systems ("cells," with storage and power generation capabilities) asynchronously to conventional power grid systems, enabling both to interchange electricity on demand.

More specifically, the digital grid router is an electrical power inverter that divides electricity into desired quantities, and can send the electricity to or receive it from any "cell." It can transmit separate electricity "packets" to electrical power lines, with each packet carrying a protocol address associated with each router.

The development was done jointly by The University of Tokyo and six partners, including NEC Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Orix Corp., Kanematsu Electronics Ltd., National Instruments Japan Corp., and Sekisui Chemical Co. Demonstration tests are planned for spring 2013 in the United States by the Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI), an adviser to the consortium.

Related JFS article:
Digital Grid Consortium Launched for Practical Use of New Electricity Network