ALTPWR: the microgrid project

May 26th 2017

Decentralisation is a hacker value. So, without diminishing any value of the great work Team:Power is putting into the power infrastructure at SHA2017, some entrepreneurial spirits took it onto themselves to start tinkering with an alternative power infrastructure. This allows for decentralised power generation at SHA2017. 

Some parts of ALTPWR in development stage.

Idealy this ALTPWR network will be fed with a variety of alternative electricity sources. And since most power consumption, as well as sustainable generation, is actually done with gear that is DC, it is going to be a DC grid. And having a mix of producers and consumers on the same grid is a lot easier to safely manage on a DC grid.  It will work at 42 Volt, because 42 is the answer to the universe and everything. Also, when using such a low voltage, the regulatory environment is much more experimentation-friendly. And what better place for experimentation than a hacker camp. 

The backbone of the network topology is that of a diesel generator providing AC, a DC buffer system and 42V DC distribution lines with an open data server that allows for monitoring and (voluntary) data collection. People can add their own solar PV panels, battery systems, and wind turbines to it. 

ALTPWR backbone scematic
Schematic representation of the 400V part connected to the backbone

This, however, is no trivial project. So if you want to connect to the 42V network at the SHA2017 camp, it would be very helpful if you registered beforehand. 

The ALTPWR network will be set up for the first time at SHA2017. Therefore, technical people are more than welcome to join the project. And it is not only a highly technical project, it can use some people with a fundraising and/or communications skill sets too. So please, take a look at and join in.  People having Tesla powerwalls or similar systems lying around are no less welcome to bring them along to SHA2017 of course.

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