Intro - Phloem


#1

Like the system in plants the project is named after, phloem will help control the transfer and storage of energy. As our grid becomes more decentralised, with more people capable of producing and storing energy we need a decentralised way of managing it.

Building a protocol and hardware that form a decentralised system that is secure, user friendly and can interact well with the grid is tall order. But we have to start somewhere.

To start with I’m going to be trying to talk to people using microgrids currently, NGOs, scientists etc, about their use cases and needs. I’ll also be talking to decentralised protocol developers to get insight into developing the right protocol.

Ideally I would use the most suitable protocol to build some prototypes to do user testing with.

About me: Currently employed as a site reliability engineer, I have good insight into protocols and hardware and also a strong belief in user centred design. I also enjoy hanging out on ssb.


#2

Hi @eb4890 and welcome. Are you documenting your work somewhere? Is this at the idea stage, or further along?


#3

Hi @Hugi, thanks for the welcome.

Very much the idea stage. I plan to create a dat website at some point soonish.


#4

Interesting topic :slight_smile: I remember I once put together an idea collection / design outline for a “village grid” system for Nepal. Not exactly your usecase of things connected to the national grid, as I don’t believe in anything beyond local P2P grids. It’s rather something “very self-manageable” for a remote village setting, using SELV technology and a kind of household-level “energy router”. Which would employ a supply-and-demand matching and demand planning protocol similar to what you seem to have in mind.

(If you are interested in more details, I could try to find my notes again.)


#5

Yes that sounds very similar, it would be great to get the notes. I’m thinking about designing the communication protocols to start with and aiming in the long term to get an ecosystem of different hardware and user facing apps to adopt those protocols. So the exact method of planning loads/etc would evolve over time.

Ideally I’d like if it worked in the grid and also off grid scenario. Lots of people will be living on the grid for a while and having predictable/coordinated loads could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a lot. The larger scale that entails would also make the equipment a lot cheaper and the software more robust for all concerned.

Grid attatched would require buy in from national grid operators and governments, which might be harder to get. I’ll pursue both avenues for the moment and see what develops.


#6

Here they are :slight_smile: As you see, these are just notes, so don’t be surprised about weird and messy content. Mostly these are plans for an electronics project. But you might find the survey of existing technology and open source projects relevant, esp. the VE.direct protocol and emonPi.

Offgrid Energy System Notes (HTML, 99 kiB)

(The file will open directly in the browser, replacing the site navigation. Click on + to unfold the list. It’s exported from FreeMind.)

Yes if it’s about people feeding back into the grid. Not if it’s about demand planning and all locally produced electricity is consumed locally or via direct connections to neighboring houses. The grid would still be a failover solution and backup, but there would be no need for the expensive certification process of grid-tried inverters. For more details about this concept, see: