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Power. Electricity. At first glance, it may seem like the most boring topic you could possibly imagine, but it does not have to be. And it is certainly one of the most important topics of our time, and today we are going to examine why the future may possibly be heavily influenced by DC, or direct current, power distribution and whether it is right for every industrial, commercial, or multifamily property.

old light bulb

AC Power

Before we go into DC power, we first have to understand what came before it, and that is AC power. AC power, or alternating current, works with an electrical current that reverses direction periodically and alters its magnitude continuously.

One advantage of an AC system is that it can generate high voltages that can be increased and decreased efficiently and easily using a step-up transformer and step-down transformer. The maintenance and repair of the substations and transmission lines is also quite easy and inexpensive.

But the construction of these transmission lines is quite complicated, and they require more conductor material. So far, it has worked quite well, obviously, but why don’t we move on to what may become the future? 

DC Power

Now let’s take a look at the star of the show and what it is. DC, or direct current, power works with an electrical current that does not change over time; so, DC sources lead to voltage and power that are constant and unchanging.

There are many applications for DC circuits, so if you are currently just looking for a programmable dc power supply and aren’t interested in all the mumbo jumbo, then you need not waste any more time if you wish. In the beginning, AC power proved more popular for the reasons mentioned before, like general ease and simplicity, but recently DC power has been on the surge, no pun intended, in use and popularity, for reasons we will get into just a bit. 

Increased Popularity

With the invention of the transistor in 1947, so began the electronic revolution, and with the invention of high-voltage electronic devices, a comeback for direct current has become possible.

Long HVDC (high-voltage direct current) cables and lines are now used much more frequently and are currently present in many urban and residential grids, ranging from 230 V to 50 kV.

DC systems are a lot more power efficient than their AC counterparts, with appliances and motors running on DC having more power and efficiency to determine their special features. DC-based lighting, like LEDs, is about 70% more power-efficient than other lights. 

Energy Source Integration

Direct current offers a significant improvement to energy source integration, which is particularly useful in situations where the potential of clean energy sources must be enhanced by means of an energy source.

Many methods for storing power rely on direct current, which generally means batteries. This offers prospects for improved integration efficiency and lower operating losses. 

electrical tower

Compatible with Clean Energy

Direct current is compatible, by nature, with clean sources of energy like wind or solar energy. A caveat of theirs is that they cannot produce power continuously as they are reliant on variables, like only when the wind blows or the sun shines.

So, particular batteries are needed for some applications for the system to supply reliable energy. An energy conversion interface on the grid is also needed. Direct current forms a more compatible arrangement, providing a good basis for clean energy. 

Big Names

Perhaps not personally of use, but an interesting little tidbit is that many of the big companies are consumers of DC power.

Think Apple, Visa, Google, etc., those at the top of the pyramid, which use whole computer data centers and huge server farms, like something out of a science-fiction movie. They all use DC because electronics more or less require direct current sources.

Especially as improvements for DC systems are being made to guarantee reliability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with downtime cut down to zero and increasing the general efficiency of the whole system. Electric cars also use direct current sources and can be used to recover their batteries in the short amount of time that is required for charging them. 

Whether you excelled at science in high school or not, whether you have fan posters of Tesla in your bedroom or not, electricity is all around us, and you should be at least familiar with what powers literally everything around you. What the future holds, nobody knows for certain, but we can at least try and look for the path we are going down.