The Coming Renaissance

A high voltage direct current pylon is silhouetted against the sunset.
On November 14th, 2007, engineer Fred Simms pulled the plug on the electric supply that ran from a substation to 10 East 40th Street in Manhattan. Thus, the 125-year “War of the Currents” ended with a victory for the prominent engineers Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse: direct current electricity service was finally eliminated from local electric power distribution systems. But was this victory final?

Warming the Air

The losing party was represented by another famous inventor and entrepreneur, Thomas Edison, who advocated the advantages of direct current. The century-old dispute was finally resolved by a strong argument — economics. The main disadvantage of direct current, when transmitted over long distances, can be summed up as follows: longer wires lead to greater resistance. The power produced by a generator depends on the voltage and current:

A white background with the word "uww" written in direct current style.
Current = Power / Voltage

Notice that at a low voltage, we get a higher current. Based on Joule’s law, the power of heating generated by a conductor is proportional to the product of its resistance and the square of the current:

The word q2rt is written with direct current on a white background.
Heat = Current² × Resistance × Time
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