The lithium-ion batteries used to power electric cars are still relatively new. But as the technology steadily improves, the units may soon be relied upon to power more than just vehicles.
Sharp Corporation has unveiled the Intelligent Power Conditioner, which enables electric vehicle batteries to be used as a source of electricity for electronics around the home. In tests, researchers used a battery pack from an electric vehicle to provide 8 kilowatts (kW) of power, enough to power the kind of appliances found in an average household. The Intelligent Power Conditioner also delivered 4 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy for the recharging of the electric vehicle's battery pack, a process that took about half an hour.
The device will undergo further testing to demonstrate that this kind of system can be used safely and reliably before it can be made available to consumers.
The Intelligent Power Conditioner is a major component of a larger project known as the Sharp Eco House, a concept designed to reduce a home's carbon footprint through the implementation of green technologies such as solar cells, storage batteries and direct current appliances. While solar cells do a sufficient job of harvesting energy from the sun, the company is developing an interconnected system of storage batteries that they say will play a vital role in storing the energy efficiently and making it readily available during the evenings, rainy days and other off-peak periods.
The power inverter/controller device will allow for both solar cells and storage batteries to be integrated along with standard utility power to ensure that electrical energy is supplied steadily throughout the house. The device can also be integrated with direct current home appliances and supply direct current electricity.
Images: Sharp Corporation
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