Reported at Phys.org, students at ETH Zurich have designed and built a mobile power generator called the Smart Micro Grid System (SMiG) for their Master's project:
The centrepiece of the system is a diesel generator that produces sufficient power to supply up to 100 people in twenty households daily with approximately fifteen kilowatts of electricity. While that is about twenty times less than what a Swiss household consumes daily, it is still enough to power a hotplate, several lamps, a small television and a refrigerator. The students optimised the diesel consumption by connecting a battery to the system to store electricity. Consequently, the generator can run continuously at peak performance for a longer period of time and rest during times with a low electricity demand. This alone enables the conversion of energy from fuel to electricity to be increased by sixty per cent, as intensive operative tests in Switzerland revealed. In addition to the generator, eight solar cells produce around ten per cent of the total output and can be folded out on the side of the trailer. More renewable energy would be possible, but this would make the system more expensive and forfeit a portion of its compactness and straightforward handling.
In addition to being a source of electricity for multiple homes, the SMiG also treats water, purifying up to 1,000 liters of water per day:
As the core of the system, the diesel generator has an additional function besides producing electricity: water treatment. Using the waste heat – some two thirds of the total energy – pathogenic germs in contaminated water can be killed off at temperatures of over seventy-six degrees Celsius. With the system running at full capacity, 1,000 litres of water can be purified per day – an opportunity for people who live in the country and do not have access to clean drinking water.
Read the full article here: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-smart-power-station-wheels.html