Progress Update on the Rural Electrification Project

We have been working on our rural electrification project for more than a year and a half now. During this time, we have been researching, developing and building prototypes of our own USB-C based solar home system. With this off-grid system we intend to provide a solution to villages that do not have a grid connection. Our ultimate goal is to interconnect households to create DC microgrids and provide reliable access to electricity for all.

One of our team memebers, Faik, standing behind the new MPPT converters

We planned to carry out our first field test in Ethiopia this month. Unfortunately, due to the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we had to postpone this field test. However, we at DC Opportunities still feel very enthusiastic to keep working on improving our prototypes.

One of our team members, Lukas, debugging newly arrived PCBs

In spite of the aforementioned challenges we were able to book some progress. Last week we have received 50 of our PCBs to assemble power-banks and in the coming weeks we expect to receive more components such as solar charging stations and power-hubs. We would like to take a moment and thank all the parties who are helping us throughout this journey including TU Delft | Global Initiative, Students4Sustainability, 3E Royal, Mekelle Institute of Technology & Victron Energy.

A working prototype of our power-bank supplying a LED light built by us

Master’s Thesis Defense of Faik Nizam

We are happy to announce that today Faik Nizam successfully defended his MSc thesis on “Energy Management in USB-C Based Modular Solar Home Systems” . During the past year and a half, Faik has been working within the rural electrification project focusing on implementing power delivery communication to perform the energy management of our Solar Home System. Congratulations Faik!

Master’s Thesis Defense of Pedro Parreira

Last week Pedro Parreira graduated from the MSc in Electrical Engineering at TU Delft. During his thesis, he has been working on “Distributed optimal power flow for low voltage DC grids” at DC Opportunities. For the past months, Pedro developed an optimization algorithm for low-voltage DC grids which eliminates the need of a central controller. By utilizing physiscal measurements of the grid, it is now possible to control local voltage and power with the goal of minimizing cost.

IEEE Empower a Billion Lives Competition

Early this year, DC Opportunities R&D participated in the 2nd stage regional round of the IEEE “Empower a Billion Lives” competition held in Seville, Spain. This global competition seeks scalable solutions to tackle energy poverty.

Dr. Laurens Mackay and Lukas Irazusta pitched the rural electrification concept that DC Opportunities R&D is currently working on. A field test is scheduled later this year in Ethiopia.

It was a great opportunity to meet people working in this field, and share ideas and points of view.