Distributed, or decentralised energy systems can be build with Open Source Renewable Energy Hardware. Within the Hamburg Open Online University project Collective Open Source Hardware, short cos(h), step-by-step instructions were created to build your own open source solar system. The tutorial is based on Libre Solar components and offers a modular system that can be set up, depending on power and storage capacity requirements. Basic understanding of electrical engineering and programming is required for a successful construction.
Manufacturing of a Solar Charge Controller
A charge controller feeds electrical power from solar panels (or wind turbines or bicycle generators) in the battery storage system. If electricity should be stored in batteries, a charge controller is always required, as it prevents the battery from overloading or overcurrent. Cos(h) created a manual that shows how to manufacture a MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracker) charge controller. It is a PCB (printed circuit board) for running an electrical solar power system.
Click here to open the cos(h) tutorial and build your own MPPT.
Photos from the MPPT manufacturing:
Assembly of a Solarbox
This tutorial shows you how to connect the previous constructed charge controller with solar panels, batteries and loads directly. However, a solarbox can be created individually.
Another cos(h) tutorial shows how to assemble a solarbox, which is a small scale mobile energy system (consisting of batteries, electric components like a charge controller and connectors for connecting power generation units like solarpanels)
Click here to open the cos(h) tutorial and assembly your own small scale solar system.
Other Open Source Hardware:
Global Village Construction Set: 50 different industrial machines: Open Source Ecology
Video: What is Open Source Hardware?
cos(h) Git Lab
Libre Solar Website
Libre Solar Community Platform
Rural Energy Systems
If you want to design a managed aquifer recharge (MAR) system, an understanding of the geological background at your site is necessary.
Aquifers consist of different rock and sedimentary layers. The type and characteristics of these layers determine whether and how much water can infiltrate. A high porosity and permeability is helpful for aquifer recharge, but not all layers have the wanted properties. Moreover, the geological history varies from region to region, therefore it is helpful to include a local geologist into the planning process of a MAR.
The following slides provide you with a basic geological understanding on rock types and their important properties: porosity and permeability. A quiz is included to let you check on your gained knowledge.
This check dam design tool helps you to design a check dam. It shows an example of a longitudinal view of a check dam section in a catchment. Each check dam needs a design accordingly to its location. Therefore, after you decided on a perfect spot with suitable local building material, you need to calculate the specific dam measurements. Click the green plus-buttons and a manual will pop up. They specify the calculation of certain values such as the size (height, length, width) of a check dam or the space between each check dam.
Check dams are an effective and inexpensive way to improve watershed conditions. They serve to reduce erosion, slow down water flow in gullies and re-establlish vegetation for grazing and can be constructed from locally available materials. Building check dams may be of interest for local farmers, herders, area authorities and people with property rights to the affected hillside and downstream areas. It is important to note that check dams are to be built in groups and are most effective when combined with other watershed management measures.
How to Build Check Dams
If you are interested in learning how to build check dams, take a look at the check dams handbook below! It will provide you with step-by-step building instructions, as well as the needed materials and equipment.
Pictures taken during a research stay at the Slope Farming Project in Arba Minch, Ethiopia.