Google is launching a USD 1 million project to design and build a kW-scale power inverter, for transforming renewable energy including solar energy and wind into a suitable power source for home and vehicles. The company has started a ‘Little Box Challenge’ in cooperation with IEEE, to design this inverter with a power density greater than 50W per cubic inch along with the size of a small laptop, roughly 1/10th of the current size.
Inverters are devices that take direct current (DC) from renewable energy sources and convert it into alternating current (AC).
“A smaller inverter could help create low-cost microgrids in remote parts of the world. Or allow you to keep the lights on during a blackout via your electric car’s battery. Or enable advances we haven’t even thought of yet,” the firm said in a statement.
“It also doesn’t hurt that many of these improvements could make our data centres run more safely and efficiently,” it added.
The last date for registration is September 30, 2014 via the challenge’s website, while the final prize winner will be announced in January 2016.
NDTV Gadgets says: Google said making the power inverter smaller would enable more solar-powered homes, more efficiently distributed electrical grids, and could help bring electricity to the most remote parts of the planet.
“A smaller inverter could help create low-cost microgrids in remote parts of the world. Or allow you to keep the lights on during a blackout via your electric car’s battery. Or enable advances we haven’t even thought of yet,” Eric Raymond from Google’s Green Team wrote.
The Google Impact Challenge UK invites non-profits to submit ideas of how technology can be used to help people around the world, and offers winners the funding to realise their vision.
Ten projects were named on a shortlist in June, each receiving £200,000. Now a panel of judges will choose the top three and an additional winner will be decided by a public vote, which closes July 30.
In April, Google was named as one of the firms leading the internet’s clean energy revolution in a study by Greenpeace. Alongside Apple and Facebook, Google has made significant investment in renewable energy.
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