The Electric Power Grid is a marvelous machine, but it:
- Is subject to failure by overload
- Is subject to damage by natural forces and mistake
- Is subject to disruption by terrorists
- Is limited at times of peak energy demand
What can be done by individuals?
- If individuals had their own source of power independent of the grid,
they would not lose power if the grid fails
- If individuals could use this power source to provide power to the grid,
in the aggregate they could help stabilize it by providing for peak power
demands and local shortages.
Gasoline-Electric Hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius:
- Are growing ever more popular with the increasing price of gasoline.
They will eventually be a large percentage of the "fleet."
- Have large batteries that can provide instantaneous power when there is
a power failure.
- Have gasoline engines that can keep this battery charged as long as the
gas tank is replenished.
- Can be used with an appropriate interface to provide backup power for
the grid on demand.
- This same interface should be usable to provide a UPS (Uninterruptible
Power Supply) for one's house
Feasibility Test results for a 2005 Prius
- Electrical testing using a "dummy load" indicates that one can draw
about 5-6KW of electrical power at ~220VDC
- This power can be taken safely and essentially continuously from the
vehicle under normal conditions
- Thus, if an appropriate system can be devised, the Prius can provide
enough power to run a house
In addition to the Prius power source the rest of the system must be
- How can power be transferred, preferably automatically, from the car to
- What is available to transform the DC power from the Prius to AC power
for the house?
- How can this power also be used to stabilize/augment the power grid?
- What about safety issues such as carbon monoxide and electrical hazards?
By providing localized sources of electrical energy, the Prius and other
hybrid vehicles can resolve a large portion of the "energy problem," both for
individuals and for the country.
This web site describes a functional installation of a "PriUPS"
system. When a power failure occurs, the Prius is
"plugged in" to the house, and supplies emergency power for as
long as there is gas in the tank. In addition, a number of
portable systems are described in which the Prius can provide
3kW or more of 115/230VAC power at any location to which it can