Interesting Facts About Electricity

The ever-growing need to be more energy efficient is driving a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to how we use electricity. Below are some interesting facts:

  • Every 24 hours, enough sunlight touches the Earth to provide energy for the entire planet for 27 years. 173,000 terawatts of solar energy strikes the Earth continuously.
  • Electric Vehicles convert over 77% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels. Conventional gasoline vehicles only convert about 12% – 30% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels.
  • Electricity was first discovered in 600BC by the ancient Greeks. The Greeks concluded that by rubbing fur against amber made from fossilised tree resin, they could create their own form of static electricity.
  • In 1832, a British scientist, William Sturgeon, created the first DC motor that had the ability to power machinery. Sturgeon’s initial development was further expanded upon by an American scientist, Thomas Davenport. Davenport is known for creating the first working DC motor, which he patented in 1837.
  • In 1887, Nikola Tesla invented an AC induction motor that he successfully patented a year later. It wasn’t suitable for road vehicles, but it was later adapted by Westinghouse engineers.
  • Martti Harmoinen is regarded as the inventor of variable speed drives for electric motors. His research on Pulse Width Modulating (PWM) variable frequency drive project started in the 1960s in Strömberg , Finland.
  • Electric cars date back as far as 1832 – While most see electric vehicles as a relatively new invention, they actually date back as far as the 1800s. Between 1828 and 1835, Hungarian and American innovators were the first to experiment with small-scale electric cars. Budding inventor, Robert Anderson, developed the first crude electric vehicle in 1832; however, it wasn’t until the 1870s that the car became ‘driveable’ and able to transport passengers from A to B.
  • Electric eels can produce up to a 600-volt shock. Luckily, the eels only release this charge when they are either hunting or spot a predator.
  • More than 50 per cent of all electricity generated on the grid is wasted. “Big and inefficient power stations, coupled with a wasteful network of pylons for transmitting it & poor insulation, means 54 per cent of the energy we use in producing that power is lost before it arrives at homes and businesses.” Smaller, more-efficient power stations – or local renewables transmitting electricity over a much smaller distance – lose less power.
  • Electricity plays a role in your heartbeat. Every function and movement within the body is triggered through signals, including your heart. Each time that your heart is given the go-ahead to beat, blood is pumped around the body. This signal is passed through the body anywhere from 40-something to over 100 times a minute. This particular function is, in fact, caused by your body’s own electricity.
  • Using a Variable Speed Drive to slow down a fan or pump motor from 100% to 80% can save as much as 50% on energy use.
  • Joseph Swan, alongside Thomas Edison, is the person most credited with the invention of the light bulb. The Sunderland-born chemist created the first successful incandescent filament electric lamp and gave public demonstrations of it in late 1878 and early 1879. Edison’s combination of thin carbon filament design with better vacuums made him the first to solve both the scientific and commercial challenges of light bulb design.
  • Industry globally consumes over 40% of the planet’s energy production.
  • 65% of all global industrial electricity is consumed by the electrical motors that drive plant and equipment.

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