Thursday, November 10, 2011

FranktoidTM No. 4 - From Hybrid Cars To Solar Powered Homes, What's Next?

By now, everyone has either seen or read about hybrid vehicles. Weather it's gasoline/electric or pure battery powered, folks seem ready to accept these vehicles as the next generation of personal transportation. While they haven't perfected the solar powered car yet, the solar powered home is a reality and available to almost everyone. With battery technology advancing in leaps and bounds, it makes you wonder what's next on the horizon. Well, would you believe a battery powered building? That's right, a commercial building that has been converted to run off of batteries.

What I believe is the first building on the West Coast (and maybe in the United States) to be battery powered, Winston Chung Hall is located on the University of California, Riverside Campus. Named after the billionaire entrepreneur and businessman Winston Chung, this research facility now houses some of the most advanced batteries in the world. Inside sources confirm that only the first floor of the building will initially be battery powered, with the other floors to be added at a later date pending further battery installations as determined for power usage.

For all the tech hungry people out there, here are some specs on the power source. First off, these ain't your grandfather's golf cart batteries. They were developed and manufactured by Winston Global Energy, which also makes electric taxis (currently for use in Europe) and a state-of-the-art electric R.V. chassis. The buildings battery pack boasts 330 batteries producing a total of 1.1 megawatt hours. Each unit is 1000 amp hour, yttrium-iron sulfate construction. Projected power demand reduction is 185 kw at a savings of $22,000 per year. Now I know what you're thinking, these things must be massive, right? To quote Frank the Pug from the movie Men In Black: "You humans. When are you gonna learn that size doesn't matter? Just 'cause somethings important, doesn't mean it's not very, very small." I think Winston took the pug's advice, as you will see in these exclusive photos.

Your looking at 40 feet of batteries in a standard hallway.

Here is a close-up of the battery packs. They look like giant Lego blocks...

These are the massive transfer switches that will handle the switching from the grid to battery power and vise-versa.

This is the power inverter that is exclusive to this system.

This is one of the European all electric taxis. It's even right hand drive! That's an all electric big rig in the background.

Here are both taxis that were on display. These were not small and looked very roomy.

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