The hub of the “Light the World’s” crowdsourcing efforts is called the Crowdsourcing Solutions Center (CSC). The CSC is broken down into 6 separate teams, each of whom has a unique set of problems to solve. While each team is unique in its project, forum area, and team makeup the CSC as a whole is greater than the sum of each team. The six teams within the CSC and each team member is responsible for the strides forward allowing Light the World to make the world a better place.
CSC team breakdown:
LED Lighting Design
Current LED systems are built for an AC electrical grid, this means that the LED’s currently on sale in the market have an AC-DC conversion system build into each assembly. This assembly drains anywhere from 1-4% of total energy allocated to the LED light. The “Light the World” system revolves around a DC based micro-grid solution in order to eliminate this conversion assembly. Designing the LED assembly without a converter is one goal of this engineering team. “Light the World” would like to have 3 different lamp configurations in order to maximize lighting in a variety of deployable locations; the second goal is to develop 3 unique lamp layout options to maximize total lighting.
View LED Lighting Design Team Objectives PDF: LED Team Objectives
Solar Panel (PV)
Solar Panels (PV) technology, just like LED lighting, are usually integratedinto the AC electrical grid. Solar inverters provide this DC to AC conversion function. This inverter is another source of inefficiency and reduces total energy output. The “Light the World” system revolves around a DC based micro-grid solution in order to eliminate this conversion assembly. Another goal of the Solar Panel engineering team is to create a low-cost durable mounting system which incorporates multiple mounting options.
The Solar Panel Engineering team must design solar panels using the lowest cost solar cells available. There are many challenges including designing one frame that can accommodate many different vendors’ cells, and having a strategy to use cells rejected by cell builders because they do not meet the suppliers specifications. These cell “seconds” are likely to be the lowest cost per watt. Using these cells would allow Light the World to deploy significantly more systems with the donations it receives. Another goal of the Solar Panel engineering team is to create a low-cost durable mounting system which incorporates multiple mounting options.
“Light the World” would like to employ a small amount of wind-generation into the micro-grid solution where feasible. This engineering team is focused on selecting small wind generators that would be suitable for use in the DC micro grid, determining how these wind turbines would be deployed, and assuring that the machines integrate correctly into the DC-micro-grid solution.
It is anticipated that Light the World would source whatever wind generation that it supplies. This team has the option to create its own wind turbine design that is suitable for use in the DC micro gird if they believe that it is feasible.
The Energy Storage team is responsible for selecting battery storage solutions that LTW would deploy. It is also responsible for developing a mechanical and other alternate forms of storage, thereby eliminating the detrimental effects of battery disposal, and increasing the mean time between failure of each deployed system.
Power Regulation & Conversion
The Power Regulation and Conversion engineering team is tasked with creating a the power regulation and mini grid control units for the DC micro grid. Their design must take the generated power and store it when there is low demand, convert the stored power into the correct DC voltage when demand exceeds generation, and manage the mini-grid system voltage. If mini-grid control needs to be implemented, this is the team that would do it. In addition, in phase two of the development, this team will create the unit that connects several mini-grids together. In phase three, they will be involved in creating the design that ties the DC mini-girds to the utilities AC grid.
There are many generation and storage options in the DC mini-grid solution. This team will be responsible for creating a strategy for dealing with the options and then creating the designs.
This is the systems group for the DC micro grid. They are responsible for the system design and operation. This includes insuring that all parts of the system work correctly together and that the system meets safety, cost, operational reliability and support considerations in addition to the local availability of ancillary equipment. They are also responsible for selecting the components that connect the parts of the system designed by the other engineering teams.
View Mini-Grid Team Systems Voltage Selection PDF: Mini-Grid Team System Voltage Selection