My main project at Makespace is Visventis.org. Initially the kite will be manually piloted which means its main application will be areas of the world where labour is cheap. The device is designed to be easy to build so those with limited facilities can make much of their own generator themselves. The total cost should be similar to (or less than) that of a diesel generator of equivalent power (2 to 5kW). If salaries are lower than the cost of diesel then flying the kite will be a worthwhile occupation. Over time the plan is to increasingly automate the system.
Visventis needs a generator. We could use a commercial one, but I have a design for a motor/generator that should cost less and be more efficient. This project should be of interest to those wanting to make electric bicycles, bikes and cars.
Motor/generator control electronics. Visventis needs to control the tension on the tethers during the generating and rewinding phases. Computer controlled electronics are therefore needed to regulate the direction and magnitude of the current flowing between the electric machine and the battery. Again, this overlaps with the interests of those wanting electric vehicles.
Gaussmeter. Optimising the electric machine requires knowledge of the strength of the magnetic field. Gaussmeters are expensive but the hall effect sensors are cheap. A DIY gaussmeter would be a great project.
Another workshop idea is make your own custom earplugs and earphones.
I am writing a book about transforming to a world where renewable energy powers everything. One of the common excuses is that renewable energy is too expensive. It is urgent that we prove that it could be cheaper than fossil fuels. Another is that power from wind solar and wave is intermittent. For 40 years now my career has been directed by my interest in batteries. I have an idea for a really cheap battery and I am working to turn it into a commercial reality.
The best way to contact me is Email;
r at copcutt dot me.uk