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Project on renewable energy

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Andreea

New Member
Hello!
I study "Electronics, Telecommunications and Technology of Information" and I'm in my last year of university. I have to start working on my final thesis and I would like to do something about renewable energy. Beside writing the thesis, I also have to make/build a circuit.

I initially thought of making a solar powered mobile phone charger, but what I found is that it's too simple, you only need the solar panels and some wires and it's done. I would like to do something more complex than that, but not too complicated also, maybe using a microcontroller. Do you have any suggestion? What other projects using solar panels can be done?

I just want some ideas, not someone to write my thesis.

Thank you :)
 

cr0sh

Member
Well, there's always the solar tracker idea (done to death, but will teach you a lot about feedback and control systems, especially in the solar business). You could also try doing a control system for solar heat or cooling. How about a solar powered air conditioner (maybe using peltier coolers? you'd need a large solar array, though)? What about a solar-powered (and aimed by a tracker) steam generator (perhaps running a small steam engine driving a generator)...?

You might also look into a solar electrolysis (hydrogen generation) system, controlled and monitored via a microcontroller...

:)
 

Andreea

New Member
Hmmm...Well thanks for the ideas, but I have thought of some of your suggestions prior to my post and I am either afraid it's too complicated (the solar tracker) or it can't really be done practically, I mean for the demonstration part. I am looking for something which won't be very expensive and also something that I am able to finish in 3 weeks.

I've been re-searching circuits for my initial idea, the mobile phone charger using solar energy and I did find some things. For example this one: http://electroschematics.com/5635/solar-inverter-battery-charger/ The circuit looked promising, but then I read the comments which were not very encouraging :( Can someone suggest a more optimized circuit?
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Hmmm...Well thanks for the ideas, but I have thought of some of your suggestions prior to my post and I am either afraid it's too complicated (the solar tracker)
A solar tracker is a very simple project, if you're wanting something simpler you're probably back down to a solar cell charging a phone.
 

Andreea

New Member
What exactly would I need to buy for making the solar tracker? Could you suggest a circuit? I know that I need a microcontroller, the solar panel, a small motor, but I wonder what types of those would be best :confused:, so I know how much would it cost me.
 

cr0sh

Member
What exactly would I need to buy for making the solar tracker? Could you suggest a circuit? I know that I need a microcontroller, the solar panel, a small motor, but I wonder what types of those would be best :confused:, so I know how much would it cost me.
If you wanted to do it quick and easy - for a two-axis solar tracker you would need a couple of r/c servos, four phototransistors, an Arduino, hookup wire, some cardboard, a bunch of hot glue, and maybe a few paperclips. For a single-axis (if, for instance, you only wanted to set it up for a given lattitude, and don't care about seasonal sun position changes), you would only need one servo, and two phototransistors, plus the rest.

Of course, things like a soldering iron, solder, perhaps a breadboard, your solar cell (not really required, though, for a tracker), etc - would also be needed to complete the project.
 

Andreea

New Member
Well I decided the project will be about about maximum power point tracking.

Thank you all for your replies! :)
 
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