Pictured: That dusty, dumb, ordinary circuit breaker panel in your basement.
Anyone ever hear of Computational Fluid Dynamics? I didn't think so. It actually has an abbreviation; it's called CFD. It is a discipline in mechanical and aerospace engineering that allows engineers to simulate, understand and visualize fluid/air flow and heat transfer. Exciting, ey?
When I joined a 4-person company called Blue Ridge Numerics (BRNI) in 1999, CFD was still the domain of specialists, of PhD's, and the domain of companies like Boeing and Ford and Caterpillar that could afford the PhD's, the supercomputers, and the expensive software that the CFD analysts required to do their job. Our belief at BRNI was that CFD should be more accessible, that "mere mortals" with engineering degrees should be able to do some of their own CFD. The niche within the niche. We built a 100-person company that was anchored by that belief. It's amazing. We built a cool business out of making CFD more accessible. Who would have thunk it?
That belief colored everything we did. Everything. Every person that we hired. Every ounce of product development. Any word we put on our website (when we finally got one) was colored by that belief. People did not buy our software (CFdesign) for the intricacies of our weighted Galerkin method, they bought our stuff because they also believed that CFD should be more accessible. They had smart people and challenging problems, and they believed that if they could simulate them it would give their companies a competitive advantage. They partnered with us because of why we were in business; the what (finite-element based), and the how (direct MCAD connection) were secondary.
Fast forward 20 years. At Lumin, we believe that the dusty, dumb, ordinary circuit breaker panel in your basement should be smart and responsive and driven by a brain that can respond automatically to your energy situation and needs for power. We believe - and we're not alone - that the traditional, centralized, one-way grid will give way to a decentralized grid that has local generation (solar), stored energy, and responsive load management. Your own personal microgrid with the traditional grid as a backup. It is happening. Faster in some parts of the world due to climate change, the abundance of solar, and a greater need for resilience.
We believe that bringing ordinary circuits to life will help usher in the distributed energy future. If you also believe that ordinary circuits should be smart, then you should connect with us, or come work for us! It is a blast and a great challenge. What we have done is built an addition to the aforementioned circuit breaker panel that unlocks control and deep data. How we bring these circuits to life is through software and hardware that can communicate with the macrogrid, can understand current energy prices, that knows your current and historical power needs, that knows the state of your battery system (if you have one), and can take action on your behalf.