It all started during a stormy winter in 2011 when my power was out for 4 days. I was thinking: if I only had some independent power source available. Maybe I would not have lost all my food in the fridge.
See my story in 30 seconds…. “On Fridge Off the Grid“:
This clip is meant as a teaser and will be followed by a video showing what you need to do to participate and make this idea become reality.
3rd Industrial Revolution
But there is a more important aspect to the project. Please watch this video from Jeremy Rifkin on Distributed Energy and you will see what I am trying to accomplish with this:
There are 5 pillars in his model which all together will bring our civilization past the carbon era. I want to start with the first three pillars and my goal is to replace one centralized power plant by pulling one million fridges partially off the power grid.
Details of my Project
In the past 2 years I developed a small generator and assembled a shopping list so people can build DIY a solar micro grid. There is a separate page about all technical specs. All parts together costs less then $900 and you can build a solar powered uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that generates you daily 1kWh or more – and it will all fit in a shoebox.
I think Everyone can find one big item in the household that is “always on” like a refrigerator or computer/modem/etc. and pull it off the grid during day time. Just the refrigerator alone consumes between 40W – 160W on average. This adds up to 500kWh per year!
See my poster on the CO2 impact that this project can have if we move in the right direction.
Since this system is modular it is compatible with many different battery technologies. In the future I want to be able to use hydrogen batteries to fulfill the requirement for the next pillar of energy revolution.
The current state
I have a working prototype using the Arduino platform which enables transfer switching between the solar powered inverter and main utility power to optimize battery life and maximize solar energy usage. I have teamed up with the experts of Athens Consulting to create a schematic and a PCB layout.
Als soon as that is done I am hoping to get crowd funding for a larger batch of boards to drop the production cost. I am currently thinking of Kickstarter as the crowd funding platform.
Go green, reduce your energy footprint and spread the idea of distributed energy production!