Monday, November 05, 2007

Neighborhood Renewable Energy

Qurrent is the winner of the 500,000 Euro Picnic Green sustainable technology challenge. Their technology is a decentralized renewable energy network. Here is how it works: A group of houses or businesses work cooperatively to generate renewable energy. One house may have a wind turbine, another solar panels and another may have both. That group exchange energy locally to maximize efficiency. Rather than sending your surplus electrons through the grid where up to 30% are lost, you share first with your neighbors in a Local Energy Network.

Qurrent has in fact developed computer controlled energy management for entire streets, through which the available energy can be optimized between all houses. That’s a break-through.”

Sir Richard Branson, 01.10.07

The Qurrent design for a Local Energy Network is basically a mini-grid that is connected to the utility grid through one connection. Surplus electricity is first be exchanged within the network cluster members before being sold back to the grid. If the cluster as a whole isn’t producing enough energy, then additional energy is brought in through the grid.

One cool feature of the Qurrent system is the Qbox, a network interface device that knows energy rates and your particular energy needs. The Qbox can autonomously switch on your washing machine when it is most efficient, either when there is surplus energy in your Local Energy Network or when electric demand on the grid is low.

With prototype models already proven and a boost of 500,000 euros, Qurrent is ready for prime time, at least in Europe.

Check out more at Sustainable Design Update.

GaiaLux Light


I have entered the NASA "Design The Future" Contest, a
product design competition, with a design for an
energy efficient LED light fixture that uses recycled
cell phone chargers as the power supply.

See the light design at:

This design is intended for the billion people who
live in parts of the world where power is
intermittent, like in "squatter cities" and in places
where war makes access to electricity difficult.

My design charges batteries when power is available
and provides light when light is needed. The
batteries can provide light for days between charges.
It also shuts off when the batteries are charged and
has no stand-by power loss. (we measured this)

One of the ways the contest is judged is by the number
of page views each entry generates. I would
appreciate it very much if you looked at my entry and
checked out the graphics (click on the thumbnail
images on the left of the screen)

If I win anything it will go exclusively toward
supporting The Appropriate Technology Design
Collaborative, a not for profit that designs new
technologies for less economically developed

The link:


Check out developments at Sustainable Design Update