A contribution from Geoffroy Levy from Nantes:
“A few words about a French project named Open Source Energy. This project is intended to enable the design of open hardware solutions to capture the different kinds of energies available all around us (from the environment or from human activities). A first module to transform and to store electricity from renewable sources is being designed: the ENERCAN (http://opensourceenergy.wordpress.com/lenercan-v1). This first brick is the starting point of a large scale design process toward the creation of new solutions inspired by old or forgotten ones and improved by the use of high-tech devices. The project is not about large and costly devices but about simple, open and cheap modules that can be replicated to capture every stream of available and lost energies, even the smallest one.
Besides designing the modules, the team took part in several events related to design or DIY in order to promote the project and to share with others.
During a one week workshop in Nantes, a team of seven students from the School of design Nantes Atlantique worked on the project Open Source Energy.
They laid the groundwork for integrating the generating modules in collective housing. This short study shows some interesting tracks to explore. The main idea of the scenario is to use the energy losses in the common parts of a building for a direct use in these areas (for lighting, for example) while lowering the costs per person.
As part of the Quinzaine de la Fabrique, a temporary fablab in their region, the project was presented. A meeting with a DIY wind turbines builder has been a great help for the project.
The project is moving forward, step by step over the meetings and exchanges. The outline of the project helped to make more precise technological choices. Everything was assembled in a draft of a comprehensive specification detailing the characteristics, nomenclature and master plans of the EnerCan modules (available on the blog).
The project is now in the validation phase of the design (including the electronics) before moving to the construction of a first prototype. The team hopes to have functional modules at the end of the summer.
If you are interested in the project or if you want to give a hand to help the team (especially for designing the electronic systems), feel free to contact them. Every detail on the blog, only in French by now: http://opensourceenergy.wordpress.com.”