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PNNL Researchers Apply "Smarts" to Grid Through Water Heater Device

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Technology developers are getting "smarter" about applying their grid know-how to promote greater grid stability and potentially reducing costs to consumers without sacrificing convenience.

At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, researchers have developed the Grid Friendly™ Water Heater controller, a device that provides smart grid services from existing, installed electric water heaters. Additionally, as part of a demand response smart grid program, the controller can shift the power demand for heating hot water to non-peak power demand periods or to relieve the electric grid during emergencies.

This smart device hosts the Grid Friendly™ Appliance chip (also developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) and provides the load-management capabilities of that chip to household water heaters. The device eliminates the need for a separate, external control box; in fact, this technology is simply retrofittable on current models of water heaters in about 5 minutes using only a screwdriver. The autonomous benefits begin accruing immediately without significantly impacting the availability of hot water. If the device is connected to a home energy management system or other communicating system, it can also participate in available demand-response programs.

For more information: http://availabletechnologies.pnl.gov/technology.asp?id=287 or contact Peter Christensen, peter.christensen@pnl.gov, or 509-371-6159

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