Energy harvesting for electric vehicles

Energy harvesting for electric vehicles

Energy harvesting for electric vehicles
Over twenty million electric vehicles produced in 2010 will employ on-board energy harvesting to help charge the traction batteries. Watch companies such as Levant Power Corporation, Asola and Callender Designs. That includes both hybrid and pure electric vehicles. Millions more will use energy harvesting in large numbers of on-board wireless sensors and actuators saving considerable weight of wiring and batteries, saving space and further extending the range of these vehicles. An example is EnOcean light switches in boats. These have with no wires and no batteries thanks to the force of your finger electrodynamically sending a signal to the light. In fact, multimode energy harvesting is already widely used in underwater and some other electric vehicles to charge traction batteries: expect three or four forms of energy harvesting in a single vehicle within a few years.
Multibillion dollar opportunity
A multibillion dollar market for energy harvesting in and on electric vehicles for land water and air is opening up. Add to that solar power on ground facilities such as aircraft hangers that charge the electric aircraft and on other buildings such as soon at Boston Logan airport to charge the Ground Support Equipment GSE including buses, all of which are going electric. Indeed, solar panels on a Brisbane bus depot in Australia charge the DesignLine pure electric buses today and some other buses have solar panels on them to provide additional power. Clearly energy harvesting already confers commercial advantage today and there is much more to come. Vehicle designers ignoring these opportunities will be left behind.
 
At the forthcoming Electric Vehicles Land Sea Air event in Stuttgart in June, electric aircraft will be covered by the University of Michigan and exhibitor ETH Zurich, electric boats by Kopf Solarschiff and Callender Designs and solar power on cars by ASOLA, with IDTechEx presentations covering the photovoltaic technologies and ten year market forecasts as well as use of solar energy by electric Autonomous Underwater Vehicles. Indeed, fuel cell manufacturer Intelligent Energy will present and it has put fuel cells in solar Unmanned Aerial Vehicles UAVs.
 
 
 
The giant automotive companies with electric vehilce interests take a global view. For example, GM has its Adam Opel and other subsidiaries across the world and Tata of India has Tata Motors Europe and other subsidaairies across the world promoting its electric vehicles. Now smaller automotive companies such as Tara International, Tesla Motors, Peraves, Bluebird Automotive, eCRP and Alke' are also expanding globally with electric vehicles. A similar thing is happening with aerospace companies involved in electric aircraft such as EADS and boat companies, even small ones such as Kopf Solarschiff.
Making the impossible possible
This report shares some of the research carried out for the new IDTechEx report "Energy Harvesting for Electric Vehicles 2011-2021". A number of new technologies will radically transform the design of electric vehicles for land, water and air. Energy harvesting is one of the most important ones: indeed it is already making previously impossible missions a reality. For example, we have upper atmosphere surveillance aircraft that are unmanned and rely entirely on solar power. We have "glider" Autonomous Underwater Vehicles AUVs that deploy for years, surfacing to charge their traction batteries from waves and sun when necessary. Silent ferries for up to 150 people rely entirely on the new flexible copper indium gallium diselenide CIGS photovoltaics as they ply the lakes of Europe.
Electrodynamics
Regenerative braking in cars is being mimicked in everything from forklifts to bicycles. Indeed, a closely related electrodynamic form of harvesting is the new Beneteau seagoing leisure yachts charging the battery by the propeller going into reverse when under sail and light aircraft soaring to make the propeller reverse and charge the battery. We expect these various forms of electrodynamics to spawn other variants, the humble bicycle dynamo having come a long way. For example, energy harvesting dampers (shock absorbers) on buses and trucks can provide ten kilowatts and lead to energy harvesting active suspension. They are also intended for cars and even Autonomous Underwater Vehicles AUVs. Energy from the flexing of the body is being researched and even smart vehicle skin that harvests energy in addition to performing real time sensing of integrity, energy storage and other functions.
Affecting battery pack and fuel cell design
Even battery pack design is changing as it has to cope with multiple forms of energy harvesting in addition to regular charging stations, the various voltages and, in some cases, intermittency being a challenge. This goes hand in hand with a general increase in system voltages sometimes up to 700 volts to efficiently deploy the latest, slimmest, most efficient traction batteries. When vehicles are "born electric" everything changes. We have even seen energy harvesting creating PEM fuel cell fuel in the form of hydrogen as pure electric aircraft fly by day, so they can continue flying by night, this enhancing lithium-ion battery storage.
Harnessing heat
Thermoelectrics have among the poorest efficiencies at only a few percent but recent work is set to double this. It will garner electricity from conventional engines and their exhausts in hybrid electric vehicles in the form of Automotive Thermoelectic generators ATEGs set for commercialisation in 2012. Later it will be fitted onto the mini gas turbine range extenders already seen in buses and soon to appear in smaller form in supercars. There is some prospect that other components that get less hot in use such as traction motors, fuel cell range extenders and traction batteries can viably fit thermoelectric harvesting in due course, particularly with flexible wide area forms becoming available. Indeed over 9.4 million cars will have some form of energy harvesting in the 2021 production output by our estimates while multiple energy harvesting will be used in 95% of military vehicles for instance. In military terms energy harvesting gives greater freedom of operation and damage tolerance.
Huge potential
With over 51 million electric vehicles for land, water and air being produced in 2021, all are targets for many forms of energy harvesting and sometimes just one vehicle can involve a substantial order, the $517 million Northrop Grumman military surveillance airship now being made being an example of this with its huge flexible photovoltaic surface. French and other photovoltaic solar airships are also being built for various tasks.
 
The giant automotive companies with electric vehilce interests take a global view. For example, GM has its Adam Opel and other subsidiaries across the world and Tata of India has Tata Motors Europe and other subsidaairies across the world promoting its electric vehicles. Now smaller automotive companies such as Tara International, Tesla Motors, Peraves, Bluebird Automotive, eCRP and Alke' are also expanding globally with electric vehicles. A similar thing is happening with aerospace companies involved in electric aircraft such as EADS and boat companies, even small ones such as Kopf Solarschiff.
 
 
 
The new report