The Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT) that TPEE developed for high-efficiency use in solar cars, has been released as open-source hardware. That means that anyone can download and use the design files, free of charge. It is named Open Smart Energy Converter (Open-SEC), and you can find everything you need to know at the project’s GitHub repository.
There are not many good business models that allow for the free sharing of hardware designs. Why then, would TPEE do it? Two reasons: because it fits TPEE’s business model and, more importantly, it fits in TPEE’s mission: to use its knowledge and resources to develop key technologies for a more sustainable future. And what better way to make the technology available is by sharing the source information?
How it started
The idea to make the MPPT freely available is not new. Tjitte: “Back in 2018, I started this project based on other opensource hardware. I quickly came across limitations in the hardware and decided to design new hardware. The goal was to make a super-efficient and smart DC-DC converter to convert the electrical power from solar panels. It was part of the first solar car made by Top Dutch Solar Racing.”
Sadly, the project had to be abandoned because there were alternatives available that are also very efficient (and expensive!). After competing in the World Solar Challenge in Australia, the project was continued: “I poured all the experience I had in the MPPT, and it made its debut in the Moroccan Solar Challenge 2021. I joined the team in Morocco, and from my own experience, I can say that it was a tough test for the car and its systems, and I’m glad the MPPT blew my expectations. Making the MPPT opensource is for me a way to give back to the awesome solar racing community, and to further develop my company.”
The MPPT is now branded as a smart energy converter: Open-SEC. Hopefully, this name reflects the broad spectrum of uses that a smart, digitally controlled DC-DC converter has. What uses can you think of fur such a device? Make sure to check the Open-SEC out on GitHub and leave your unfiltered opinion, and share it on your favorite platform.