BTG: Modular power to the people

  • Lavado Villa, Luiz, (Academic)
  • Finney, Stephen, (Academic)

Project: Internally funded project

Description

Dragon's Den winner
Off-grid communities often rely on renewable energy technologies such as small wind turbines to provide them with electricity. However, due to intermittency, the energy produced by these plants poses an important challenge to their associated electric system. The aim of this project is to solve this problem by creating cheap, easy to build and reliable modular power electronics systems and a manual for building them. The project will be run by undergraduate and PhD students from the University of Strathclyde in collaboration with an international association called Wind Empowerment. All prototypes will be tested and refined through user feedback from real wind turbine systems across the planet.

The potential outcomes are divided in technical, research and financial.
In technical terms, the prototypes and manual will constitute a material acquisition of all the parts involved. They will help many communities throughout the world to create and manipulate electric systems. They will help the students acquire new skills and consolidate them through interaction with others. The open source approach of the project will allow the design to keep evolving well after the end of the project.
The research at the University of Strathclyde will also profit from the use of these platforms for testing ideas related to multi-level converters and control systems. This will allow the PEDEC group to capitalize new knowledge and give ready access to PhD students to the condition to build initial prototypes for their research.
In financial terms, the open source knowledge generated in this work will allow the creation of revenue through different ways. One possibility is the creation of “circuit kits” which can be sold by Wind Empowerment to interested organizations and individuals. The manual can also be published and sold throughout the world. The students and staff involved may be able to provide training courses for those interested anywhere, anytime. This revenue can be later used to finance new projects and even partially fund research proposals.

StatusNot started