Mobile Energy Generator to Bring Electricity to People Without It
ECE Professor Ewan Pritchard and his team have been awarded $322,103 to design and build a hybrid electric vehicle powertrain that can generate electricity and add to the capacity of these microgrids.
August 17, 2015 NC State ECE
In developing nations, masses of underserved populations are now getting electricity for the first time – from solar and batteries. DC microgrids are popping up across the world due to inexpensive renewable energy.
ECE Professor Ewan Pritchard and his team have been awarded $322,103 to design and build a hybrid electric vehicle powertrain that can generate electricity and add to the capacity of these microgrids. The project is made possible by the FREEDM Systems Center, Positive Energies, L.L.C. and a grant made available through the US Trade and Development Agency or USTDA.
According to Dr. Pritchard, “Many people don’t realize it, but we have been building DC microgrids for over 30 years – in electric drive vehicles. As a result, we are able to tap into the electric vehicle industry and take advantage of the experience and engineering that has already taken place …by taking automotive components and using them in the stationary electric utility grid.”
A prototype of the Mobile Energy Generator or MEG will be designed and built with the goal of creating a commercially viable product. As Dr. Pritchard explains, “Our prototypes will be used to accept and manage power small loads within the Dominican Republic and then expanded to provide power to people who currently use kerosene and small portable generators to power lights, cook, and pump water in remote areas.”
The proposed MEG system will be able to supply between 25kW and 50kW of high reliability electricity in grid-connected or standalone mode.