RU used fpga’s research on solar and wind energy in remote areas




Radboud University in scientific investigations in Chile’s Atacama Desert data from telescopes via fpga processing units which current from wind and solar energy. The university has developed with partners for this special containers.

The sustainable energy supply and data processing modules are part of the Hipersense system, which includes a container, solar panels 133 and comprises a windmill. The Hipersense units are easy to move and can also easily be connected to the mains or involvement of other renewable energy facilities, such as hydropower. In addition, an aggregate, and battery present. The intention is that the systems are not only used for scientific research, but also in emergency hospitals, festivals, defense, smart grid applications, and telecom providers come into play.


Initially Radboud University put them in the BlackGEM project. Hipersense must take the energy and data processing of three optical telescopes at his expense. These telescopes should identify gravitational waves: ripples in space-time caused by mergers of black holes and neutron stars. “We use it on a remote mountain in the Atacama Desert in Chile dieselagregaten while there is constant sun and wind in abundance I thought a few years ago:. It must be another way,” said Paul Groot, head of the Department of Astronomy Radboud University against Tweakers.

And he took the initiative to bring together parties in the province of Gelderland. “The project has had a lead time of two years. The cost was 600,000 euros, of which 40 per cent from the province through the European Regional Development Fund has come. Ultimately, we hope Hipersense not only in Chile but also for climate research on the North Pole to put in. Or think of research in atolls, because you do not really want to work with diesel generators. ”

BlackGEM Chile

The aim is that modules to be used for the calculations of the holding Incaa. Containing a Xilinx-soc with Artix-7 FPGA and two Cortex A9 cores with a clock speed of 667MHz. In addition, 512MB of memory and as much flash storage on site, as well as two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, USB 2.0 and support for GPS and 3G. The consumption is 4W and the module could deliver 3,2megaflops power. Multiple modules can be placed in the Hipersense-unit. “The challenge is to maximize the image data of the BlackGEM array of telescopes to be processed by the programmable chips,” Groot says. “Other systems such as Intel CPUs can also be used, but increasing your consumption and you do not want.”

To save energy and at night flow to continue to deliver the Hipersense has over 55 series-connected batteries 12V / 200Ah, which for an energy buffer of 72kWh concerns. “These are lead-crystal batteries, which are selected because of their longevity,” says Ronald Haasdijk, serving as project manager at Pasman Motoren & Aggregates involved in Hipersense. “They can also to high and low temperatures, and you do not ventilate them.”

The 133 solar panels each 1.6m 2 each deliver a maximum power of 260W. The windmill with a diameter of 1.95 meters will be complementary. This has an efficiency of 1200kWh per year, with a maximum at wind-rich areas of 2800kWh. Inland comes rather from 300 to 500 kilowatt hours. In emergency cases it can be returned by a generator in the container delivering up to 20kW. That proved not a luxury: a planned demonstration on Friday Kleefse Waard industrial estate in Arnhem, the unit had to be already enabled. The solar panels were damaged during the autumn storm last week and therefore not connected.


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