Google offers big prize for small power box

July 24, 2014 - 8:00:24 am

SAN FRANCISCO: Google is offering a million-dollar prize for a breakthrough that would make solar or wind generated electricity more enticing for everyday uses.

Google teamed with the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers to back a “Littlebox Challenge” promising to reward whoever comes up with the best design for a device no bigger than a laptop that can efficiently convert direct current to alternating current commonly used in homes and businesses.

Renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines create direct current that must be converted into alternating current, the system for which now involves complex power grids and sources such as fossil or nuclear fuels.

The challenge is to shrink power converters to about a tenth of their present size, which was described as on par with large picnic coolers. AFP