Archive for the ‘renewable_energy’ Category

In third-world countries, remote villages without access to the power grid must rely on diesel or petroleum generators for electricity. This means they can warm and light their homes only if they have access to these limited resources. Engineers at Windlift develop portable airborne wind energy (AWE) technology for post-conflict reconstruction, disaster relief, and third-world development. Using the dynamic duo of  NI CompactRIO embedded systems and NI LabVIEW software, Windlift designed a system to provide renewable energy to villages in post-war Afghanistan.

 

AWE technology uses a flexible airfoil, tethered to a base station, to capture power from the wind. With its tethers spooled onto a large drum, the airfoil is actively flown downwind of the base station. As the airfoil flies away from the ground station, its tethers unspool from the drum and drive it to turn a generator. The electrical power produced by the generator is then transmitted to a battery bank and stored. All of these devices interface with CompactRIO through a controller area network (CAN) bus.

 

windliftb.jpg

Up, Up, and Away…

Windlift AWE System During First Flight Test

 

The Windlift team is currently in the final stages of testing the AWE system prototype. Fortunately, thanks to the seamless interface between CompactRIO and LabVIEW, the transition from the current manual system to an automated system will be an easy one, requiring only a simple software update. The AWE system is just another example of how NI products are helping improve life across the globe.

 

>> Check out another sweet app that used LabVIEW to help make the world a better place.


>> Attention all do-gooders: Have you ever used NI products to innovate for those in need? Share your story with us in the comments below!

When designing a hotrod to race across the Land Down Under, the engineering students of Solar Team Twente turned to NI LabVIEW software. In October, they will compete for the fourth time in the World Solar Challenge, a competition in which teams worldwide build and race solar-powered cars across 1,850 miles of rugged Australian outback, from Darwin to Adelaide. The competition may be fierce, but with a new lightweight design and motor controller run by LabVIEW, the team members have their eyes on the prize.

 

cim172.JPG     

    Buckle Up: It's Going to Be a Bumpy Ride   

Testing the race car on improvised cattle guard

 

                                      

Compared to their 2009 model, the team’s current car is 30 percent lighter, and has optimized aerodynamic performance, 10 times less air drag than a commuter car, and a top speed of 87 mi/h. These improvements are due to a new controller area network (CAN) bus that sends data from the solar car’s attached sensors and actuators to a trailing car through data collection software developed with LabVIEW. The LabVIEW application also sends messages to the solar car motor controller to regulate the car’s speed. In doing so, it takes into account important factors such as wind direction, the amount of solar radiation and rolling resistance.

 

After months of test and design, October 16, 2011 marks race day. Good luck, Team Twente!

 

MG_8057.jpg

Rev Your Engines

Team Twente presenting their car to the public

 

 

 

>> For more photos and information on the team’s design, check out Solar Team Twente.

 

 

>> Ever used NI products to design a car? How did it go? Let us know in your comments below!

Armed with NI LabVIEW software, CompactRIO, and PXI hardware, researchers at the University of Zagreb in Croatia have established the Laboratory for Renewable Energy Sources, or LARES. We all know that green is the way to be, but as the demand for clean energy grows, the need to make it efficient and readily available does as well. To meet such demands, LARES conducts research on controlling and storing wind, hydrogen, and solar energy.

 

Let’s get the nuts and bolts straight. LARES is a microgrid consisting of a custom-made wind turbine, an electrolyzer and fuel cell stack for hydrogen production, and solar panels. It was designed to investigate and develop microgrid algorithms to control specific energy sources. Designing these control algorithms can be tricky, because the amount of energy produced by renewable sources is often unpredictable. The algorithms require many control loops and real-time hardware operation on a millisecond time scale. That’s a definite need for speed. With the help of NI products, the LARES engineers laid the foundation for virtual power plant control and made green energy a more reliable power source for the future. Captain Planet would be proud.

 

Check out their mean, green set-up:

 

windch.jpg

      Wind Chamber with Wind Turbine and Powerful Blower     

 

 

                                                                                 energys.jpg

                                                                            Hydrogen-Based Energy Source Consisting of Hydrogen Storage,                                                                            

Fuel Cell, Valves, and Measurement Equipment

 

 

>> Check out the full case study here.