Generate as much 120 volt single-phase 60Hz AC electricity as possible, within the boundaries of one square meter, without post-install human aide (for the most part).
The unfortunate reality of attempting something like this is the collective difference in geography and climate. The environment in your area is likely very different than mine, in terms of what is ambient and what can be accomplished. That said — in any given location there remains variation, such as that of night versus day. There are steep challenges in this undertaking, but any success we have in this will benefit the whole of the earth. I suspect NASA has similar projects already under its belt (for out of this world use with far different constraints).
I take the statistics at the bottom of this page to mean that the design(s) employed should generate 1717 watts per hour, 24 hours a day to satisfy the typical U.S. homeowner… This is unlikely in a single square meter. There is no hurt in trying though. If the design is cheap and replicable, a few square meters might be all the typical U.S. household might ever need. It should be noted that conservation of energy by said homeowner would make our job easier. In the interest of reality, let’s just work on the generating electricity and leave the life training up to other initiatives.
A list of constraints follows. I’ve recently learned that collaborative design thrives on open-for-debate constraints. Thus, here are some constraints off the top of my head. If you would be so kind as to help me hone them, perhaps the project can expand into something more formal (at least a wiki). In the meantime, start a WordPress blog for your take on this and we’ll share ideas in true open source style. 🙂
- wind-power is encouraged
- solar-power is encouraged
- geothermal-power is encouraged
- gravity-power is encouraged
- hydro-power is encouraged
- snow?-power is encouraged
- rainwater collection is encouraged
- use of rare metals is discouraged (exceptions where reasonable, e.g. magnets)
- combustion power is discouraged
- use of living organisms for power is discouraged (e.g. bacteria, body heat)
- wave power is discouraged (see below)
- electric output should be 120 volt single-phase three-lead 60Hz AC (similar to a gas-power generator)
- if batteries are used, try using the venerable 18650.
- think outside the box, lol…
- two to five year payback would be nice… (I’ll have to crunch some numbers)…
- lies within a single 1m x 1m surface area
- no vertical constraint, only be sure to keep it all within the square meter, even at the top and below the surface
- present target user/builder is a typical suburbanAmerican
- (Who uses the most power outside of industry? We should design to the answer to that question. Doing so will likely speed involvement, development and deployment. Third world countries will then be set to reap huge benefits from the hyper-driven design.)
- quietness is encouraged 😛
- storing surplus power in batteries may or may not make sense (read as: good batteries are expensive)
- drilling into the soil for water or geothermal tubing is okay
- floating platforms are discouraged, as private ownership of waterways is rare (I think)
- geographic location should be noted in the design
- environmental conditions should be noted in the design
Pop Culture and/or Exploit the Times:
- connect the m² Power Station to the Internet!
- give your m² its own Twitter feed, so it can announce the amount of renewable energy generated
- host a low-power OpenWRTweb server from within (Maybe it can double as a WiFi hotspot?)
- enroll it in a purpose-built online community, which will tally the group’s amazing statistics, in near real-time.
- display a public web page showing the general stats with maybe a break even countdown page 😉
- How can vandals and thieves be deterred?
- barbed wire
- lol.. tazers
- motion sensing LED strobe lights (digital cameras?)
- loud music
- (neighbors and wild animals probably won’t like these..ideas?)
- Solar FAQ
- “Irradiance is a measure of the sun’s power available at the surface of the earth and it averages about 1000 watts per square meter. With typical crystalline solar cell efficiencies around 14-16%, that means we can expect to generate about 140-160W per square meter of solar cells placed in full sun.“
- NOAA Solar Calculator
- U.S. Household Electricity Report, Notes and Sources
- “From 1995 through 2003 (the most recent year for which data are available), the residential sector accounted for the greatest share of U.S. retail sales of electricity.”
- Estimating Appliance and Home Electronic Energy Use
- How much electricity do household items use?
- Power Consumption of a Home
- Solar Energy
- “Now you multiply 41.20 kWh (Kilowatt hours) by 365 (Days in a year) to see your total yearly production of electricity which in this example equals 15,038 kWh which is just over the average American homes total yearly usage.“
- “Ohio averages 4.12 hours of historical sun every day”