Almost a year ago Google launched The Little Box Challenge, an open competition to build a (much) smaller power inverter, with a $1,000,000 prize. July 22 2015 was the deadline for the people to submit a testing application. The winners will be announced in January 2016.
Inverters are the essential boxes that take direct current from devices such as solar panels and batteries and turn it into alternating current for use in homes, businesses, and cars.
The problem is household inverters are too big—roughly the size of a picnic cooler. Making them smaller would enable more solar-powered homes, more efficient distributed electrical grids, and could help bring electricity to the most remote parts of the planet.
That’s where the competitors come in. If they can figure out how to shrink an inverter down to something smaller than a small laptop (a reduction of > 10× in volume) and smaller than everyone else, they’ll win a million dollars.
On October 21st up to 18 finalists will have their inverter designs tested at NREL, the National Renewal Energy Laboratory. Needless to say it may help revolutionize electricity for the next century.
Categories: Batteries and Storage Technologies