The new IDTechEx report, ‘Solar Cars, Buses, Trucks, Trains 2020-2030’ explains how we even have energy-positive electric vehicles now. This is leading to dual functions with considerable benefits to society and paybacks.
For example, the Stella Lux solar car at the Technical University of Eindhoven has long taken four people to work and back, with surplus solar power donated to the grid at the end of the day. It is planned to commercialize its successor with an app that locates such vehicles so electric car users can find them for some top up charging vehicle-to-vehicle. Toyota is experimenting with triple junction compound photovoltaics on a car that could do this in a smaller package.
In New Zealand a solar boat powers three homes on arrival. Indeed, electric boats not only transport people and goods; they can become floating microgrids and virtual power plants. Electric boats will enable floating microgrids that could serve islands that have historically been powered by unreliable diesel generators with a nasty fuel supply and price problem, according to a report from researchers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Reliable, affordable, green electricity has been a big challenge.
Jayashri Ravishankar, an author of the report, said: “When some natural disaster occurs in dispersed islands, the electricity networks or generation systems are heavily damaged and residents live without electricity for weeks. In this case, consumers having this technology can immediately get their power, and the ships sent by the government to distribute food can also supply electricity.
“They may participate in the bidirectional boat-to-grid energy transactions of a virtual power plant in coastal areas.”
The system can maintain the power quality under various load / source uncertainties and fault conditions.
Energy positive solar boats can also bid energy in coastal areas. This is all part of the technological mega trend of electrically smart materials replacing components-in- a-box as elaborated in the IDTechEx report, ‘Smart Materials for Structural Electronics 2019-2029’. The world’s leading event on electrically smart materials is ‘IDTechEx Show!’ at Santa Clara in Silicon Valley.
Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, added: “From graphene to sensors, energy storage, electric vehicle materials, wearables, internet of things and smart healthcare devices, it is all here in one place. We have parallel conferences, masterclasses and a 250 stand exhibition. There are around 3500 paying delegates – no time wasters.
“Users such as famous car and aircraft manufacturers present alongside the world’s largest chemical companies. You can hear from the most exciting start ups making amazing new added-value materials and devices. Our PhD analysts are acknowledged global thought leaders in these topics. They design this large commercially-oriented event every year.”