Sheffield outreach:
Keep the Lights On

28 January 2020

Laptop connected to a small-scale electricity grid


Keep the Lights On is an outreach project created by PhD students at the University of Sheffield. The project involves an electronic board game that allows players to act as operators of a small-scale electricity grid. They must decide on the number of customers to supply and the amount of storage to use to maximise revenue and most importantly – keep the lights on!

About us

We, the Keep the Lights On team, are PhD students at the University of Sheffield. We are part of the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Energy Storage and its Applications (ESA), funded by the EPRSC and industrial sponsors. The ESA CDT is a group of students across multiple disciplines conducting research in the field of energy storage.

The game

Keep the Lights On is an electronic board game representing a small-scale electricity grid. Houses with their power demand are represented by 3D printed plastic models and LEDs, super capacitors represent grid-scale energy storage, and an Arduino controls the board. Players of the game choose the number of houses they want to supply and the amount of storage they will purchase for the grid. The external power supply to the board is then removed and then it’s countdown time! The supercaps discharge and eventually the lights go out.

Points score = number of houses x duration of time the lights stayed on – cost of storage

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