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IEC Conference in world's first DC utility building

Amsterdam, September 12, 2017

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) held a conference on 11 September in the Circl, the new circular building of ABN AMRO on the Zuidas of Amsterdam. The IEC members from all over the world, experts in the field of DC standardization, met for the SyC LVDC Amsterdam conference on DC. This was a great opportunity to introduce the world's first of a complete smart dc system in a utility building to a worldwide audience.
The Circl is the first building worldwide with a DC infrastructure. This world premiere goes hand in hand with the introduction of an innovative circular concept using as much as possible recycled material. The entire building is connected to the DC grid with a 350V DC distribution system and DC components developed by Direct Current BV. The solar panels on the building directly provide energy (DC) via the DC grid to the end users, such as PCs, laptops, screens, mobile phones and LED lighting, without the intervention of the regular AC grid.

More than forty members of the worldwide DC standardization commission visited the Circl for the IEC conference. The program offered prominent speakers the forum to interested guests and specialists in DC. Willem Wolf of the Dutch standardization commission NEN started the conference with an opening word. Harry Stokman, director Direct Current BV, told in his presentation about their DC projects in the Netherlands and their innovation, specifically the Current Router. Based on the operating system Current/OS, also an innovation of Direct Current BV, the Current Router controls the protection and management of the DC grid in the Circl.
 
 
Photo left: Vimal Mahendru, chairman IEC LVDC. Photo right: Harry Stokman, CEO Direct Current BV.

Erik ten Elshof, program manager for smart grids at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, talked about their participation as a government to encourage and support innovations in the Netherlands. These innovations, which include transitions outside the existing paths, stimulate them through government programs, such as the RVO Green Deal. The Green Deal with Direct Current BV in 2012 made it possible to roll out a pilot project on DC outside the regulations and to set up a NEN1010 DC working group to investigate and establish DC standards.
 
 
Picture left: Erik ten Elshof, Ministry of Economic Affairs. Photo right: Circl tour given by Direct Current BV about the DC system.

Paul Juffermans of Alliander calls for standardization to be speeded up, because the grid operators are busy with DC distribution in the 'last miles.' Ronald Niehoff of multinational Eaton spoke about safety and stress levels within standardization. Eric Gijsbertsen, director BAM Bouw en Techniek, was presented the 'Goed Bezig' award by Harry Stokman. An award from De Techniek in the Netherlands, an initiative of UNETO-VNI, for their courage to implement this innovation on DC in the building.

The conference was also accompanied by a tour of the Circl along DC components developed by Direct Current BV, such as the DC drivers in the LED lighting, the 100W USB-C connectors in the wall sockets in cooperation with ABB, the DC inverters in the TV screens, and in particular the distribution panel that forms the heart of the DC grid with a series of Current Routers installed. The solar panels on the building are connected to the DC grid via solar converters, developed by sister company Femtogrid Energy Solutions. The conference ended with a visit to the Vreeken Bouvardia greenhouse where DC growth lights are connected to a DC grid by Direct Current BV on a large scale. After a day full of impressions, the IEC members were enthusiastic about the innovations on DC. The Current Router broaches a new market on a global scale for buildings with a DC infrastructure.