Spotlight: EMerge Alliance
What is driving the movement toward direct current (DC) power in institutional and commercial facilities? An open industry association called the EMerge Alliance is leading the rapid adoption of safe DC power distribution through the development of EMerge Alliance standards.
The alliance's vision is to create open standards for room- and building-level DC microgrids for campuses and buildings, including the occupied space, data and telecommunication centers, building services and utilities — including HVAC, pumps, and air compressors — and outdoor power requirements, such as electric vehicle charging.
The EMerge Alliance standards are targeted to complement existing alternating current (AC) infrastructure and standards, with a hybrid DC power layer at the local load level. Larger building loads, such as HVAC equipment, motors and high-bay or industrial applications — are often DC-based — for example, variable-speed drives — and are ideally suited for DC microgrids.
Backed by a membership of more than 100 leading organizations, the alliance's technical standards committees define touch-safe voltages and limited-current potential at the user interface to enable plug-and-play device flexibility, while setting higher voltage levels for building-level power distribution and for larger-load devices.
In all cases, the alliance is crafting standards to facilitate energy savings at all levels by avoiding unnecessary power conversions and maximizing the opportunity for highly articulated digital control. Perhaps most importantly, the standards are designed to allow direct integration of site-based, renewable energy sources and storage devices without using costly, inefficient power inverters.
The alliance has completed standards for the occupied space and data and telecommunication centers, and EMerge Alliance Registered products are available to the market.
For more information, visit www.EMergeAlliance.org.
— EMerge Alliance