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A Modular Approach To Green Living For Households
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A Modular Approach to Green Living for Households

The people around the world are gradually but surely changing over to green energy sources also known as alternate or renewable energy sources. The most common green energy sources for households are solar energy, wind energy and geothermal energy. For heating purposes the changeover to solar energy is quite rapid and comfortable among households, reason being that sufficient heat is available even during rain or cloudy weather, thanks to the infrared radiations in the solar spectrum. Additional comfort is available as solar heating systems or geothermal heating systems are often supplemented by electric or gas heating as and when required.

GREEN ELECTRICITY GENERATION FOR HOUSEHOLD

For the purpose of electricity generation the household electricity supply systems are usually based on solar electric panels or wind turbines coupled with batteries and DC to AC current inverter. The 12-48 V DC charging current from solar panel or wind turbine reaches the battery pack and there after converted to 110 / 220 V AC supplies through inverter. Both wind power and solar power are intermittent energy sources, meaning that all available output should either be utilized when it is available or stored for the future use. Further solar energy is only available during day time whereas a common household usually has its peak electric load after the sunset. The intermittent nature of solar and wind power supplies can become a cause of disruption in electrical supplies, especially during prolonged cloudy weather, storms or foggy conditions. Under these weather condition, the solar panel or wind turbine cannot produce sufficient electricity to charge the batteries.

THE MODULAR APPROACH FOR HOUSEHOLDS

The changeover to GREEN ENERGY is a lot comfortable when done in a modular way, as explained in the following text.

The general classification of household electric load are usually similar to values provided below:

Type-----------------------Quantities per household--------------------------Electrical Load (Watts)

Module – X1 Basic (2000 Watt)

Bulbs------------------------------20-------------------------------------------- 600

Ceiling Fans ------------------------5-------------------------------------------- 250

Exhaust Fans -----------------------3--------------------------------------------- 100

Desktop Computer -----------------2--------------------------------------------- 300

Printer ------------------------------1--------------------------------------------- 100

Television ---------------------------3---------------------------------------------- 450

Module – X2 Air Heating Cooling (5000 Watt)

Central Air conditioning --------------1--------------------------------------------- 5000

Electric Heater (No central AC) ------3--------------------------------------------- 4500

Split AC (No central AC) ------------3--------------------------------------------- 4500

Module – Y1 Cleaning (2000 Watt)

Washing machine ----------------------1---------------------------------------------- 700

Iron -----------------------------------1--------------------------------------------- 1000

Dishwasher ----------------------------1--------------------------------------------- 1500

Vacuum cleaner ------------------------1---------------------------------------------- 800

Electric Mower ------------------------1--------------------------------------------- 1500

Module – Y2 Kitchen (5000 Watt)

Refrigerator / Freezer -------------------2--------------------------------------------- 1200

Microwave Oven -----------------------1---------------------------------------------- 1500

Hot plate / frying pan --------------------2---------------------------------------------- 2400

Coffee maker ---------------------------1------------------------------------------------ 800

The data tabulated above divides (an arbitrary division) the entire electrical load of a household into 4 modules; X1 and Y1 of 2000 W each and X2 and Y2 of 5000 W each. These modules have electrical loads which are continuous or intermittent, with different times of peak loads. Doing some intelligent thinking on the given data will help in developing the right type and capacity of green energy systems for a particular household module. The occupants’ daily routine and habits should also be considered while developing these modules. When a household’s electrical load gets divided into such modules, these can be individually converted to solar energy or wind energy supplies one by one.

Each such module will have a solar panel or wind turbine as the primary source of power along with battery bank to store surplus energy for use when primary energy is not available. To give the readers an idea of the battery requirements for a 2000 W supply module, take the example of 150 Amp-hr batteries. Ideally, a 12 V / 150 Amp-hr battery can supply 2000 W power output for about 54 minutes (150 amp x 60 minutes x 12 V / 2000 W). This means that about 27 such batteries can manage continuous supply throughout the day. Since we know that the batteries won’t be supplying the current when primary supply source (solar panel or wind turbine) is available, the number of batteries can be reduced in proportion to the number of hours for which primary supply is available. Now this should also be borne in mind that the primary supply source for this 2000 W module shall have the power supply capacity far greater than 2000 W, because the primary source shall be providing power for the electric loads as well as battery charging. Again, for the reader’s benefit, ideally a 2000 W solar panel or wind turbine shall completely charge a 150 Amp-hr battery in 54 minutes. This means that such a solar panel or wind turbine can charge ten batteries in ten hours.

The modular approach if applied for changeover to green energy living can have following advantages:

• A single module changeover will give the household a feel of the green living, while keeping the grid power available for rest of their electric load.

• With time all the modules can be converted to green energy supplies, thus keeping each module independent of problems in other modules.

• Each module batteries can be conveniently charged with DC current output from a portable generator during any emergency situation which cuts off supply from solar panel or wind turbine for extended time period.

Use of portable generators with DC output is more efficient for charging batteries compared to doing it on grid power.


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