Qurrent. The community energy company.

June 3, 2011 in Efficiency

Like SolaRoad, Qurrent is a Netherlands-based company – is it just me, or is the Netherlands a real hotbed for creative energy projects?

Anyway, Qurrent provides “intelligent systems” for Local Energy Networks to allow for sharing, optimization, administration, and visualization.

In other words, for a community that uses a decentralized energy source (example 1BOG – which helps coordinate local group purchases of solar energy in order to optimize costs), Qurrent’s products – Qbox, Qserver, Qmunity, Qpps, optimize energy production and consumption by the following:

1. Collecting all relevant data regarding energy consumption and patterns, and optimize usage by “switching” appliances when most efficient (Qbox)

2. Storing all data collected from the Qbox, to be presented on the Qmunity website (Qserver)

3. Providing an interface for members to analyze energy consumption and production data, set Qbox switches, and exchange with other community members (Qmunity)

4. Providing a platform for additional functionalities and expanding capabilities (Qpps)

Qurrent is collaborating with various utilities in the Netherlands to implement their product and services.

Again, after working with centralized, extremely high power-generating systems (nuclear), I’m really interested in decentralized systems and bringing energy – the source, the distribution, the utiliziation – to a local level.

Centralized systems have their advantages (high density, high efficiency production), but the complexity of the system makes it so hard to push forward sometimes – for technical reasons, but also for political and social reasons.  Building a nuclear reactor these days, takes easily 10 years, if not more, from the time the idea is suggested – to the time the plant produces electricity.

Local Energy Networks (LENs) are usually based on renewable energy sources (small wind system, or shared solared panels) – less efficient and more expensive than centralized systems.  But they are community-based–  so I assume, easier and quicker to implement.  And integrated with a “smart” system like Qurrent, the LEN can be optimized and greatly reduce energy loss in production.  And with an interactive approach like “Qmunity”, people will take more ownership of the system and understand their consumption patterns, and therefore, hopefully change the way the behave in order to consume less energy.  Furthermore, LENs are easily scalable.

LENs coupled with a “smart” system like Qurrent.  Local.  Easy to implement.  Approachable.  Scalable.  And clean.

Of course, centralized systems have their place and we need to continue to develop them, as well as improve complex distribution networks, but sometimes, we need to approach the problem differently – and we’ll come up with interesting ideas like this one.