Stakeholder Initiatives for Implementing Energy Harvesting Capabilities in Electric Vehicle

Europe is expected to accelerate the adoption of integrating energy harvesting capabilities in vehicle over long term.

The integration of multiple technologies and an increased accessibility and affordability of high-end technologies will facilitate the growth of greener and more sophisticated vehicles globally. Collaboration will give a successful result in implementation of energy harvesting technology to recover waste energy from different parts of the automotive body such as shock absorbers, regenerative braking, and develop a complete energy independent vehicles. Various stakeholder initiatives with respect to technological development and implementation are taken into consideration.

Magneti Morrelli is a Fiat Subsidiary operating from Italy. The company is developing a kinetic energy recovery system technology. The technology aims to combine braking kinetic energy with recovered waste energy to power the car’s drive shaft. They have tested the system with a Formula 1 racing car and were able to achieve 40,000 revolutions per minute. The oil shock absorber waste large amount of kinetic energy, this energy can potentially recovered to support other operations.

The University of Bremen has demonstrated the experiment, in which when the acceleration sensor is deployed in the car’s engine compartment, the motion or the acceleration of the car can be employed to convert into electricity and support low power application such as self-powered sensors or wireless intelligence.

Sungkyunkwan University Industry-Academia Collaboration Foundation is trying to develop an RF-based energy harvesting system for electric vehicles. The system is expected to generate power with the help of the vehicle antenna employed for information transmission and reception.

Audi AG and Alta Devices have collaborated to work on thin film solar cell technology. These companies are planning to implement the outcome of the project in two stages i.e. integrating solar cell technology in the panoramic roof of Audi models and feeding the energy to an internal electric system of the car such as supporting HVAC and others. In stage two, companies are planning to feed the energy from solar cells to the battery to increase the range of the vehicle. Integration of solar cell will be the most important attribute to achieve energy independent vehicles in future.

Daimler and BASF are together exploring the plastic-based solar sunroof to power the in-vehicle cooling system. The solar sunroof is expected to be developed by using a plastic solar sunroof coated with aluminum fiber paint which will further help to insulate the car.

Philips and BASF have teamed up to develop OLED based solar sunroof. Plastic will be used in maximum proportions to develop the sunroof and it is expected to power in-vehicle electric applications.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Researchers at the laboratory are trying to convert sunlight into highly efficient electricity. The two advanced materials that are single-walled carbon nanotube and perovskites have been employed for the development of the product. The technology was able to achieve 11.3% solar conversion efficiency in the first few steps

Panasonic has developed a solar sunroof with 180W capacity, high conversion efficiency and support to the auxiliary battery. The solar roof is comprised of an amorphous silicon film, and the crystalline silicon substrate. The company has signed a deal with Toyota and Tesla.

Faurecia and Mahle: Interior thermal management technology is being developed by the collaborating companies for the future electric vehicles. This collaboration will address a few applications such as air distribution and air conditioning integration solutions for an electric vehicle.

Europe has witnessed a strong traction for energy harvesting. In the initial stages, companies are most focused towards to extract energy from shock absorbers, regenerative braking which is available on wide scale in the market. Companies are more focused on developing a thermoelectric and piezoelectric system. Automo believes that in medium to long term, energy harvesting option in vehicle will be more prominent from the demand side, government regulations will also be aligned towards energy independent vehicles. The European automotive sector is experiencing an intense R&D activity. This will result in an increased number of patents from the European region in the future.

The battery technology at present is not ready for the energy harvesting implementation and to successfully implement this innovation, there is a need to improvise the present scenario. Energy harvesting will increase the continuous charging cycle of the battery which will further reduce the battery lifetime. Europe is expected to accelerate the adoption of integrating energy harvesting capabilities in vehicle over long term.

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