ARPA-E Summit

I attended the ARPA-E Summit March 1-2, 2011 near Washington DC.  There was of course much discussion of energy capture technologies, and the smart grid. I am most interested in the high-power end of the smart grid. An HVDC grid is required, in my opinion, to enable continental scale power sharing. The voltage could be 500-800kV but I personally favor 800kV, as this is effectively the new standard due to the two recent Chinese overhead 800kV DC projects. There was little in the way of directly competitive transmission technologies to elpipes on display at the ARPA-E show, but I did make contacts with companies that are working on related technologies that are also needed for the HVDC grid of the future, such as:

1) development of HVDC circuit breakers;
2) development of HVDC network control strategies;
3) extending voltage source (VSC) converters (GTOs and IGBTs) up to 800kV;
4) developing HVDC-HTS (high temperature superconductor) junctions that can operate at 800kV.

Of these technologies, I have inventions related to (1) and (4). There were many people at this summit who are aware that only an HVDC grid can bridge between different synchronous areas, and cover a continental area with a single supergrid.

Roger Faulkner, President
Electric Pipeline Corporation

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