Ford and Whirlpool aim for energy efficient domestic micro-grids

Posted Jan 10, 2013 by Robert Myles
Automaker Ford announces it will join forces with domestic appliance manufacturer Whirlpool to design a low energy consumption home of the future featuring a domestic micro-grid where the family car, domestic appliances and solar panels work in tandem.
The announcement was made at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, reports, and would see the car maker enter partnership with Whirlpool, best known for the manufacture of white goods like freezers and washing machines, combining the two companies' joint expertise in linking the family car and a new generation of electrical appliances with solar panels. Also co-operating in the new venture would be SunPower, a manufacturer of solar panels and a company specialising in low consumption management of domestic electricity consumption.
Intelligent energy networks
The project called MyEnergiLifestyle, aims to bring together seamlessly, developments in electric car design with domestic energy management. Unused car battery power could be deployed to help power domestic tasks, like laundry, when the family car was parked up, rather than drawing down electricity from the grid to run the washing machine, reports 20minutes.
MyEnergiLifestyle aims to demonstrate that families using electricity metering and smart electrical devices, combined with electric cars and solar panels can afford to live comfortably whilst at the same time significantly reducing a household’s energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.
The family car would be at the heart of this energy push-me-pull-you. Instead of being an energy consumer, as with conventional petrol and diesel engines, the electric automobile would from time to time become an energy producer – a micro power station on wheels ready to feed into the household electricity grid when garaged. The electric car would take its charge and store the energy in its batteries from domestic photovoltaic panels. The car would be an integral part of a domestic smart grid that recharged its own energy reserves in the shape of batteries when demand for electricity was low, for example, at night. Multiple domestic appliances would also be capable of changing their power source particularly during times of peak electricity consumption to draw down power from household solar panels, domestic batteries and/or unused energy stored in the electric car when not in use.
The MyEnergiLifestyle is scheduled to start over the coming weeks. Ford, Whirlpool and their partners believe adopting the practices of MyEnergiLifestyle with its integrated technologies could save the equivalent electricity consumption of 32 million American households.