The globally rising energy demand, exhaustion of fossil fuels and pollution ask urgent action for the transition to an energy system based in renewable energy. We believe that such radical change can only occur through cooperation and knowledge sharing through global communities. The principles of open development and free knowledge can be applied in at least two different ways:
- We share knowledge and information about renewable energy concepts and technologies, particular products, manufacturers etc.
- We share the designs and all knowledge needed for the efficient manufacturing of renewable energy generation systems.
While the first form of knowledge sharing keeps us dependent on current proprietary manufacturers, it might be a solution for the very short term. The second form is more in line with the need for a radical change, but requires collaboration and pooling of resources in a much more intense way. This page is our starting point for open development and free knowledge applied to distributed renewable energy technologies.
The subject of distribution of Renewable Energy is discussed at Renewable Energy Distribution.
- 1 Open design and free hardware
- 1.1 Onawi
- 1.2 Tamera
- 1.3 OSE Solar Concentrator
- 1.4 Tiny Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (TiVA)
- 1.5 Solar Flower
- 1.6 Open Power Nepal
- 1.7 Concentrated Solar Power Open Source Initiative
- 1.8 Solar Heat Pump Electrical Generation System
- 1.9 Chispito Wind Generator
- 1.10 Mike Davis' Wind Turbine
- 1.11 Free Charge Controller
- 1.12 Open Energy Monitor
- 1.13 Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C)
- 2 Cost comparisons
- 3 Other repositories and R&D communities
- 4 Deployment of Distributed Renewable Energy
- 5 Action networks
- 6 Literature about Renewable Energy
Open design and free hardware
About the concepts of free hardware, see http://freeknowledge.eu/blog/wouter/from-free-software-to-hardware Wouter's blog at FKI] and a Case Study on Open Source Ecology.
In the domain of Renewable Energy a growing list of free hardware projects is emerging. Let's try to compile a list of the more interesting ones.
Onawi is a free hardware community project to develop a medium-sized wind turbine for electricity generation. "The main focus for development will be a medium size wind turbine design. Turbines of this size are especially suited for manufacture and use in low and middle income countries, and can also be used for community projects in the global North. Medium-sized wind power generation as this is a mature technology that can compete with fossil fuels , in particularly with diesel plants."
A Solar Power Village in Portugal deploys various decentralised solar power technologies and doesn't rely on industrial manufacturers. Video about the technology: http://solarpowervillage.info/. Includes Solar Power Concentrators, Biogas and Thermal Solar Power: the "Sunpulse Hotoil". Inventor Jürgen Kleinwächter: "On the other hand, the hot oil from the energy hothouse is used to operate a Stirling engine, the "Sunpulse Hotoil", which, thanks to its simple way of storing the oil, provides both electrical power (1.5 kWel), cooling energy and mechanical energy, for example for a grain mill or a saw." Concepts are explained in this PDF. See also Franz Nahrada's conversation (in German) with founder Barbara "Bori" Kovats. Note that blueprints, manufacturing information and instruction materials are not publicly available and no license information is given.
OSE Solar Concentrator
Tiny Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (TiVA)
The Tiny Vertical Axis Wind Turbine, or TiVA, is a general prototype model and testing platform for a larger wind turbine, and also the prototype for the Apollo-NG Zephyr Wind-Park Construction Kit. It's a project from OSE Germany and follows the OSE principles (and therefore is free hardware). The team is based in Germany and is led by Alex Shure.
Open Power Nepal
Concentrated Solar Power Open Source Initiative
The CSP OSI works on "low cost solar energy through open source design" and focuses on Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). Their work is shared under the "CSPOSI License", which appears to be a free hardware license.
Solar Heat Pump Electrical Generation System
SHPEGS is an open development project that aims "to design and build a system that uses a combination of direct and indirect solar collection to generate electricity and store thermal energy in an economical, environmentally friendly manner using common construction materials."
Chispito Wind Generator
Mike Davis' Wind Turbine
Mike Davis published his self-made horizontal axis wind turbine with ample instructions to replicate his experience here.
Free Charge Controller
The Free Charge Controller is a free hardware project that aims "to design a charge controller with maximum power point tracking (MPPT). Maximum power point tracking allows a solar panel, wind turbine, etc to achieve maximum efficiency and deliver maximum power to a load."
Open Energy Monitor
The Open Energy Monitor is a free hardware project that "can be assembled and configured to work for a variety of applications from a home energy monitor to solar pv import/export monitoring and beyond."
Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C)
In Renewable Energy Cost Comparisons we discuss the cost levels of the different technologies and list references for trends.
Other repositories and R&D communities
- Global Villages Dorfwiki: Erneubare Energien (german)
- P2P Foundation Wiki: Category:Energy
- Appropedia Wiki: Energy Portal
- Open Source Ecology Wiki: Category:Energy
- Solar Fire is "a modular, high temperature, fixed focal point, Solar Concentration System designed for scalability at low-cost". Note: they're a non-profit, "open" business, but use non-free licenses.
- Solar R&D by De Soto: De Soto Solar
- Engineers Without Borders -UK Energy group
- Engineers Without Borders -International Appropriate and Sustainable Technology databases
- Tinytech Wind energy
Deployment of Distributed Renewable Energy
- Map of Renewable and Alternative Energy projects in the UK: http://www.renewables-map.co.uk/
- PracticalAction.org Energy for All list of resources & EC funding options
Literature about Renewable Energy
(unfortunately most of these books are freely licensed nor open access)