A central non-electric grid electricity storage system for solar and wind energy with future expandibility

I have been thinking and reading about building a system so that I could surf using a laptop, charge lights, charge mp3 players, mobile phones, rechargeable batteries so that if possible they would not need electricity from the grid, rather that would be optional when there would not be enough power that was found otherwise. I had first thought to work this out in a group as a kind of project, as there are others but I don't really know that many people with those skills.

The idea is that you start very basic, with say one solarcell and the electronics. The electronics should allow plug to when you wnat to have the money you can add another, in serie or parallels so they give more power. This can then be plugged in to a system that stores that electricity in batteries. The system should also be so that it allows to connect for example one or more small selfbuild wind turbines, like the ones found here, so that in the best case you get electricity from both, or one of both but with the possible option to get electricity from the grid so that if necessary you can charge something from there. That would mean it would include an electricity meter, and maybe the possibillity to add that self powering powerplant as well.

So basically you have two projects. Or maybe three. The casing to add small solarcells in, and then be able to add several casing together. The electronics to put them in serie and then a central electronic system, which allows to connect solar casings, self build windmills, batteries, the self powering power plant, possibly the possibility to add it do the grid, and last but not least the possibbility to charge things. That could be a seperate part of electonics. As one of the things I had been thinking about is to allow to connect fuel cells to it.

I prefer us in what already exist, so I would suggest using the following instructabels projects or learning from them:

a Savonius Wind Turbine,Ted Baer's Bicycle Wheel Windmill, savonius windmill alternator,
introPringles Wind Turbine,DIY 1000 watt wind turbine,
A remote controlled power RGB LED mood light,Power LED's - simplest light with constant-current circuit,Circuits for using High Power LED's,
personal powerPlant,
... others may follow later

Like for example the Charge Any USB Device by Riding Your Bike but then connected to the portable usb batteries, so they could be also connected to the central charge unit.

The connectors could be usb connectors. I saw some time back a connector which had a 4 port usb block attached to it, but other connector types would be usable as well.

In adition, it should be able to switch on automitcally when the sun goes down, but allow a control a button or remote control to trun them manually off, so that no needless electricity is wasted. I know this is a lott at once, but its more my kind of thing to work on more complete/complex systems. The lights that would be used with this would be led lights, powered a la sunjar, using the same technique. So that them turning off and on, is mostly controlled by the sun going up and down.

My idea was that with such a system, I could add piece by piece, and still have light, and electricity indepency from the grid, and I would know the cost, so that once I would have bought the pieces it would generate electricty whitout to much further cost.

Solarcells would typically provide 8V or 12 V, this could be smaller ones, the casing would be is supose made of plexiglas, with pieces that standup to keep them appart, and holes for the cables, and a backside, that stays dry as well.

This is what is on the drawing: the solarcells feed into the sersol which puts them in not parallel and then transport the current to the cen1 which directs it to the batteries to store it. The same for the windmills. But they go to the windmills, which puts there current in not parallel. The powerreg, regulates the power of the personal power plant, it can discharge, but also just regulate. There is connector to the grid, so if there is no electricity or not enough electricity it can be taken from the grid. There is the possibillity of a remote, which would work in connection with the cen1. The batteries might need extra electronics to see which one is full and to divert the current to another battery, and to get current back to the powersockets which could be regular oens, but also preferably usb ones. The other two connections could be for for example fuel cells, or something else. The control solar cells is simply to turn the connected sunjars which may still each have there own solarcell, on or off by the rising or going down of the sunn. The remote, is to turn them off manually.

The casing should be sturdy but not to expensive, it may have to include somethings to keep it right, but the idea is to be able to put them after glass as well. The idea is that the electronics design would be free, or very cheap, so that people can build this themselves, the casing shouldn't be to expensive but that can differ on taste, most parts or thing likes windmills would be the DIY type or possibly ones you can buy as well, and most parts would have to be, off the shelf.

I'll try to add a basic drawing, and some sketches, to give you a better idea. I'm not that good at that, i'd admit.

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Floris Vermeir (author) 10 years ago
The reason for both solar cells and windpower is that solar cells is ok in the summer but sometimes it is only summer on the callendar and not when you look outside. So if the sun doesn't shine then it can happen there is no wind either, but most often there is still some. So the wind mills would be e.g. like a savonious but also the pringles windmill. Or any other model that would be usable.

The reason for the solar cells to be in a different pack is that while its also ok to buy larger solar cells, it may be mroe useful to buy smaller onces say that deliver 8 to 12V, and to put them together in serie. The idea being that for someone who likes to see it grow or needs that for it to be able to do, can start wit the central unit, and the batteries, and then add solarcel packs to it. The benefit of smaller solar cells is that they can be used or set up on more places, and are cheaper, well mostly, then bigger ones.

It maybe to complicated, and if there is a simpler way to solve it then I prefer that one. The reason I put seperate boards on, was that I thougth it woudl be useful to have the possiblity to be able to add several different things but that that would either be abel to do so because it had that capcity built in, but on a different board, or that such a board could be added later.

The grid would be as a charging source, it doesn't have much use otherwise. The powergrid in Belgium isn't really made so you can sell electricity back to the grid.

"and instead of storing the energy in batteries why not loop it through a coil and send it through the system again and again and then put it trough a distributor of some sort and use that to power your stuff.and id be glad to work with you on this"

intresting hadn't thougth of that, it would be useful in the evening or the night to charge any connected system that has its own batteries. Like the sunjars, although they would benefit of being able to do both.

I see why it makes sense to put the things sepratly as Las Vegas writes, yes, it would probably be the best way to do so. So Far I've had a look at existing electronics schemes for solar charges a nd so.

The hardware that would run of it, would be a laptop, the sunjars, but that could be by charging them during the day. I was kind of thinking to look at led lights as they last long, and use very little energy.
For the rest possibly a desktop pc, or something that consumes that much power. TThe possiblity to charge an mp3 player, a mobile phone, and be able to attach other things that require power.

The idea is to have this, and then to attach primary stuff to it; although a sunjar may load from itself, but its nice when the sun doesn't shine or not enough; and have the possiblity to add new things as well. That was why it wanted to add usb plugs for recharching.

An earlier version of the concept was meant for something like this:

For example, but that would then be outside is simply a system that would use a solarcell and a windmill and then a fuel cell or a simple the device that splits water in two, and stores the hydrogen and the oxygen in simple tanks. I was thinking balloons in a botlle, or something like that, that could then be fed into a small hollow model rocket that would be allowed to be launched when it has enough fuel. The fuel is not polluting and replenshiable. It could carry simple electronics, or not, a simple guidance system, and then just fire off. Once the system is in place all you would ever need are enough hollow rockets but there made of paper anyhow, a simple slide system that puts them into place, and enough water.

But a system like that could be attached to it as well. Any hydrogen and oxygen could always be fed back into the system to produce current. Although for the moment I don't think thats really an option for me at least, because any serious tanks are rather expensive.

But I'll lookup the electronics schemes I have, and work a bit on what you wrote, so I know how that works and then post back to you.
Solar Cells are not going to provide much power no mater where you are or how much sun you get. To get a lot of power from the Sun, you need a very large number of solar cells, or a large number of mirrors directing concentrated light to panels than can handle it (IE: Arizona's solar station). Right now, for the cost, solar is still not very economical. Wind can be economical if you construct a large enough plant and a blue area (Very high wind). Anything less is an expensive experiment. The idea of creating a loop of power is silly. It's only conceptually feasible (and somewhat at that.) if you were to use superconductors at a temperature of near absolute zero.
> Right now, for the cost, solar is still not very economical. . For a system installed by a contractor, that is still true, but for a DIYer it can be worthwhile - though maybe not enough to get an MBA-approved ROI.
Deltablazing10 years ago
i have a few questions...why have windmills and solar cells?i mean do you really need that much power?and instead of storing the energy in batteries why not loop it through a coil and send it through the system again and again and then put it trough a distributor of some sort and use that to power your stuff.and id be glad to work with you on this
It's not a case of "that much power". Wind turbines only output an average of 1/3 their rated power (due to variations in the weather) and solar cells only work at night. Inevitably, there will be times when a properly-designed system produces more power than is required at a perticular time - that power needs to be stored for times when there is no wind and it's dark. That power can be stored chemically (batteries) or mechanically (springs or raised masses, such as water pumped uphill). For a home system, batteries are by far the most efficient way to store the maximum amount of energy.
> and solar cells only work at night. . Rough night?
(Random embarrassed excuses)


. I'm sure everyone knew it was a temporary dysfunction between the brain and fingers, but I just _had_ to point it out. heehee
>sharp dig in Nacho's ribs<
NachoMahma10 years ago
. I've been thinking about something similar for my house. I've even done a little bit of research. Here's a few random thoughts and things I've found out. . . As LV pointed out, you're getting much too complicated for a home-brew system. The more power sources you have, the more equipment you need to keep power from flowing in the wrong direction. If you had a big budget and an Electrical Engineer on staff, it might be different. . As far as I can tell, you cannot connect multiple inverters to a common output without expensive gear, so modular inverter upgrades are out. . Solar cells, on the other hand, can be hooked in series and/or parallel to get the voltage/current you need. . Inverters that produce 1-4KW and put out a decent sine wave (which you will want if you will be driving computers, TVs, VCRs, etc) are still pretty expensive. If you will just be driving lights, motors, etc a "clean" inverter output is not that important and the inverters are much cheaper. . Larger inverters tend to be noisy. They are prone to 60-cycle hum and squealing inverters and usually have large cooling fans. And they can produce quite a bit of heat. . Storage batteries ain't cheap, either. Although the prices _are_ coming down. Power density is a LOT better than it used to be. . Windmills of any sort that produce usable amounts of electricity are noisy and need to be mounted 20-40 feet above terrain and buildings/trees. Not appropriate (or legal in some cases) in urban or suburban areas. . Selling electricity back to the utility is an iffy proposition at best. . Starting a central AC unit takes a LOT of power. If you can design your system to start an AC, it ought to handle the rest of the house with no problem. IIRC, my AC unit requires ~4KW for 2-3 seconds when starting. Can't find my figures right now, but I'm pretty sure it was close to 4KW. . Adding an emergency generator would be a trivial task. I've run my house on an 1KVA/800W generator during an ice storm. It was enough to run the HVAC, a TV, and a few lights - although it did have to struggle to start the HVAC blower.
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