Solar Power: Scientists from Australia and the United Kingdom are planning a 9,400-mile road trip in a Tesla through some of the world’s most isolated places, charging the batteries with an unrollable plastic solar panel sheet.
The team’s project, dubbed Charge Around Australia, aims to get Australians thinking about solutions to combat climate change.
As the creator of the roll-up solar panel, Paul Dastoor, puts it, areas of Western and Central Australia are perhaps the most remote in the world; blistering temperatures, huge distances, and a lack of water just prevent comfortable human living.
Putting them in a Tesla is a major job, but it has the advantage of putting the solar panels in the most harsh conditions possible right away, where dirt and dust, daily rolling and unrolling, intense heat, and frequent use will put them to the ultimate test.
Consumers are hesitant to acquire electric cars because of “range anxiety” and a dearth of charging stations near them, in addition to expense. Mobile charging packs are being developed by several companies, however they are slow, expensive, and simple to steal.
The printed solar panels, which are created on a machine that also prints wine labels, solve all of these issues for roughly $3.33 per square foot. They are made out of a PET plastic solar electrode that is transparent. Dastoor’s wine-label-appropriated technique enables his team to print a third of a mile, or half a kilometre, of solar cell strips every day.
The project is called “Charge Around Australia,” and it aims to inspire Australians to consider new methods to combat climate change while demonstrating the range and flexibility of the electric Tesla vehicle.
The project’s roll-up solar panels will be put to the ultimate test in Australia’s most isolated regions, where searing temperatures, enormous distances, and a shortage of water make human habitation impossible.
“This is actually an excellent test bed to offer us knowledge about how we would go about using and charging technology in other remote regions, such as space,” said Paul Dastoor, the developer of the printed solar panels that will keep the Tesla charged throughout the journey. “(The) community is looking for these kinds of solutions to the difficulties it faces on a daily basis as it relates to climate change.”
The team’s Tesla Model 3 is powered by solar panels made of lightweight, laminated PET plastic (think: plastic drinking bottles), which Dastoor claims can be produced for less than $10 per square metre using typical commercial printers. The person who printed these panels had previously been in charge of creating wine labels for a local winery!
During their 84-day Tesla voyage, the crew expects to visit around 70 schools, with the goal of giving pupils a taste of what the future may bring.
During the 84-day trek, the team will stop at approximately 70 schools to provide talks about the technology, how it can help avoid climate change, and what everyone can do to help.
According to Dastoor, the scientists expect that Tesla founder Elon Musk will think the research is “very cool” for “showing how our creative technology is now joining with his advances to generate new solutions for the globe.”
One of the most common criticisms of electric automobiles is that they will always contribute to global emissions as long as the electricity they use is not produced in an environmentally friendly manner. Yes, they do, but the per-mile emissions of an electric vehicle are far lower than those of a gas-powered vehicle.
However, experts all over the world are constantly looking for ways to improve things, including inventing cleaner, more effective ways to generate the electricity we need to power all of our devices. This leads us to a group of Australian scientists who are working on something quite interesting.
A group of scientists from the University of Newcastle in Australia is working on a much more cost-effective method of producing solar panels, and they’ve devised an ambitious plan to show off their findings.
The team is working on a novel solar panel that can be printed on a commercial printer, led by Paul Dastoor.
These new panels were created with the help of a wine label manufacturer. The panels are substantially less expensive than standard solar cells, costing only AU$10 per metre when built this manner. That works up to about $2 per foot.
The solar cells now have an efficiency of roughly 2%, but the team is aiming for at least 4% efficiency from the cells. They also want to build the power packs utilizing organic electronics technology, which would make them completely renewable.
It’s a big objective for the scientists, and it gets even loftier when you learn how they want to demonstrate the new technology.
That’s because University of Newcastle scientists are planning a road trip around Australia in an electric vehicle (EV) fueled only by the electricity supplied by solar panels.
According to Reuters, Paul Dastoor and his colleagues will drive a Tesla across Australia for 9,400 miles later this year. The tour will begin in Newcastle and will include stops in places such as Sydney and Melbourne.
The trek, dubbed The Charge Around Australia, will take the team 84 days to complete on solar power alone. Along the process, they seek to alleviate people’s concerns about driving electric cars due to range anxiety.
They’ll do this by transporting an 18-meter-long (60-foot-long) solar panel in the trunk of a Tesla electric car. The solar cells will be unrolled at each charging station to absorb the sun’s energy and convert it to electricity.
The solar cells will take six hours to fully recharge the car’s batteries, according to the team.
But, despite being significantly less efficient, why are these printed solar cells better than the ones we have?
Well, as Dr. Benjamin Vaughan of the University of Newcastle noted in a blog post on the project’s website, it all boils down to the weight of the panels.
While they will require a larger panel surface area to generate the required electricity, the weight of all of this will be far less than if standard solar cells were employed.
“It makes carrying kids on the voyage simpler.” “They also fold up, so we use less space, which is convenient,” he added.