Greetings TI E2E folks!
I invite you to join me on a trip as I ponder the past and contemplate the future of power and energy in the “Dave’s Powertrip” blog series. I’ll share my thoughts and invite you to do likewise.
Power to the people!
"The power of engineering"
We learn a lot when preparing for a presentation, particularly when the audience is very broad. You really cannot take anything for granted. A few coworkers and I had such an opportunity. The conference is local and will cover energy conservation, renewable energy, energy storage, and the smart grid. In this conference we can expect engineers of various flavors, consumers, and students. One conference goal is to promote engineering as a profession. So the first question is, “Does the audience know what an engineer is?” We did what any person would do … and asked the Internet. We did not do this because we do not know what we are, but because we just wanted to see what others think we are. The results were: “a person that designs, builds, or maintains engines, machines, and public works.” However, that definition does not quite fit what we want to convey in this conference.
So, for this conference, we engineers concocted our own definition of what an engineer is. We wanted to convey more of a career/vision versus just a job. So we adopted this definition: An engineer is a professional who designs devices, machines, and systems that create new or improve upon previous methods of accomplishing a task. This would be the message and litmus test for the presentations. The other important part of the message is to make sure the content is understandable by the broad audience.
Our particular session covers residential renewable energy and energy storage. To make this a practical topic, reducing residential energy must be addressed. For example, data collected in a survey from the U.S. Department of Energy’s office on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) in 2005 showed that the average residence in Texas uses about 42 kWh per day. To get this energy from solar, you would need to install about 6.3 kW of solar would on your roof! That is why it is important to reduce the energy requirements first.
Using the data in Figure 1 pulled from the EERE 2005 survey, the biggest target areas are clear. We also want to focus on where the semiconductor industry can make an impact. For example, adding more insulation and better windows helps reduce the thermal load, but our industry cannot directly participate.
Figure 1. Where does all the energy go? [Source: Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) 2005]
It is no surprise that cooling is a big target for Texas. For the average US home, cooling and heating numbers are almost reversed. The biggest play for us is in electrical commutation of the various motors used for heating and cooling... Read more of Dave's powertrip on EDN
How do you define an engineer? How else can an engineer contribute to our energy use?
My definition of an engineer: A trained professional who designs machines, devices, systems or components to perform a specified task, endeavoring (in each case) to optimize performance and suitability to task.
Oops! My corrected definition of an engineer: A trained professional who designs machines, devices, systems or components to perform specified tasks, endeavoring (in each case) to optimize performance and suitability to task.
Thanks Ray, great definition. I like having positive goals as part of any profession. Even when assigned just to duplicate what others have done, an engineer needs look for improving the outcome.
Before designing some contraption an engineer has to 'invent' it, based on sound technical basics. Suggest change design to 'invent and design'.
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