24 June 2010 | Serdar Uckun
Arguably, the all-electric powertrain will be the most significant disruption in automotive technology since Henry Ford introduced the first assembly line over 100 years ago. So far, the gasoline- (or diesel-) powered internal combustion engine has been a tremendous success despite its limited efficiency, particulate matter and CO2 emissions, complexity, and maintenance demands. An all-electric powertrain, however, would eliminate many common failure modes associated with internal combustion engines. The recent introduction of plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles have sparked a new wave of public interest and heightened expectations -- is it finally time for electric vehicles to displace the internal combustion engine for good?
10 February 2010 | Serdar Uckun
Vehicle-to-Grid is a fascinating concept that appeals to venture capitalists and energy economists alike. Imagine millions of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids connected to the power grid, storing excess energy generated by wind farms at night and selling power back to the grid during peak demand hours. But is V2G truly a win-win-win -- that is, does it make economic sense for PHEV/EV owners and manufacturers? Given the battery depreciation economics, Lithium-ion may not be the right chemistry for V2G. It might be wise for us to focus our attention on more feasible ways to integrate renewables into the grid.
29 January 2010 | Serdar Uckun
Data centers are energy vampires. Approximately half the energy consumed by data centers today is simply wasted in order to accommodate occasional peak demand such as viral videos or breaking news. But we're now entering the "third wave" of data center efficiency advances: software managing hardware (the first wave was hardware such as HVAC, and the second wave was software such as virtualization to consolidate processes on fewer centers). PARC has developed a suite of energy management solutions which are based on model-based optimization and control to "adapt" energy use to resource needs.
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