IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 29

By Bruce Nordman and Ken Christensen

DC Local Power
Distribution
Technology, deployment,
and pathways to success.

IRECT-CURRENT (DC) POWER
distribution has been used
ever since electric grids were
invented, but, for the last century, low-voltage dc has been
largely limited to a variety of niche applications such as
rail transport, vehicles, telecommunications, and off-grid
buildings. Recent years have seen a variety of innovations
in dc distribution technology, notably, standards for 380-V
dc cabling and connectors and increases in power that can
be carried over Ethernet and universal serial bus (USB).
There are increasing calls for much more use of dc distribution and dc microgrids in buildings, and there
are potential advantages of both. However, open
questions remain about the directions this
might take, what policy makers could and
should do in this area, and technology developments that would be most useful. This
article considers potential pathways for
increased use of dc and identifies those pathways that seem most beneficial and likely to
succeed. We limit the scope of consideration to distribution within (or between) buildings.

DC Power in Buildings
When an alternating-current (ac) utility grid power is
available to a building, directly distributing and using

Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MELE.2016.2544218
Date of publication: 31 May 2016

2325-5987/16©2016IEEE

IM
AG
E

LI
C
EN
SE
D

BY

G
R
AP
H
IC

ST
O
C
K

D

power as ac is the obvious initial choice. If
costs and benefits are similar, ac has a great
advantage as the incumbent technology in product
and parts availability and its familiarity with designers,
electricians, contractors, building owners, and local
planning departments. There has always been clear
advantages of ac power within utility grids, particularly
for the ease of changing voltages, and those advantages
remain. Thus, for those who would like to see more use
of dc distribution in buildings, the focus needs to be on
cases for which the net benefits of dc are both substantial and compelling.
An increasing fraction of electrical load in buildings is
natively dc, most recently with the rise of light-emitting
IEEE Elec trific ation Magazine / j une 2 0 1 6

29



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016

IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - Cover1
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - Cover2
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 1
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 2
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 3
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 4
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 5
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 6
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 7
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 8
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 9
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 10
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 11
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 12
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 13
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 14
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 15
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 16
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 17
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 18
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 19
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 20
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 21
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 22
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 23
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 24
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 25
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 26
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 27
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 28
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 29
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 30
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 31
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 32
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 33
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 34
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 35
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 36
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 37
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 38
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 39
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 40
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 41
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 42
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 43
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 44
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 45
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 46
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 47
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 48
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 49
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 50
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 51
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 52
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 53
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 54
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 55
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 56
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 57
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 58
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 59
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 60
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 61
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 62
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 63
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 64
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 65
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 66
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 67
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 68
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 69
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 70
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 71
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - 72
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - Cover3
IEEE Electrification Magazine - June 2016 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_december2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_september2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_june2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_march2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_december2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_september2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_june2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_december2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_september2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_march2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_june2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_march2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_june2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_december2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_september2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_december2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_march2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_march2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_june2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_september2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_march2014
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_june2014
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_september2014
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_december2014
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_december2013
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pes/electrification_september2013
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com