Smart Mobility: Electronics technology applied to smart mobility with low impact to the environment, Part 1 of this blog series contains the description of the possible usage of electrical energy to improve the autonomy of transportation in electric vehicles, realizing transportation with low impact for the environment.
This direction may become further utilized in the near future, as it is confirmed by the excellent results of a team of researchers at Stanford University who have realized a solar cell that produces hydrogen to recharge hydrogen fuel powered vehicles. This solution, when integrated into the vehicle, might dramatically increase the autonomy of a car, which won’t be required to be recharged exclusively in a recharge hydrogen fuel station and; moreover, the hydrogen fuel car will be recharged while it is in motion while being exposed to the sunlight, i.e. in presence of solar energy.
This “in motion” recharging solution is very interesting because the hydrogen car could be utilized also in countries that don’t yet have a well distributed net of hydrogen fuel recharging stations, plus this type of transportation does not produce carbon dioxide emissions; hence, it doesn’t pollute the air that we breathe (see Figure 1):
“A team of Stanford University researchers has developed new ways to make hydrogen fuel from water by using bismuth vanadate, an inexpensive compound that absorbs sunlight and generates modest amounts of electricity.
Yi Cui, associate professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford, and his colleagues have focused on photovoltaic water splitting that consists of a solar-powered electrode immersed in water. When sunlight hits the electrode, it generates an electric current that splits the water into its constituent parts, hydrogen and oxygen. … Hydrogen fuel has long been touted as a clean alternative to gasoline. Automakers began offering hydrogen-powered cars to American consumers last year, but only a handful have sold, mainly because hydrogen refueling stations are few and far between. “Millions of cars could be powered by clean hydrogen fuel if it were cheap and widely available,” said Cui. ” (Source: New China)
The Nanocone structures of the new solar cell solar cell produce hydrogen from sunlight (Source: Stanford News)
Electronics technology plays a fundamental role in realizing renewable energy electric vehicles powered by hydrogen cells, as it is confirmed by research of the University of California (see Figure 2):
“Electric-drive technology is evolving and being refined, and engineers and designers are addressing several issues: the optimal system voltage, the choice of motor, (e.g. ac induction vs. dc brushless permanent-magnet vs. switched-reluctance), the choice of power-switching device (e.g. insulated-gate bipolar transistors [IGTBs] or metal oxides semi-conductor field-effect transistors [MOSFETs])” (Source: “Solar- Hydrogen Fuel-Cells Vehicles” M. DeLuchi J. Ogden )
A schematic of a hydrogen electric vehicle system (Source: University of California Transportation Center)
Sustainable mobility has a low impact on the environment; it will be successful especially if it will be cheaper than the standard modes we have today. To follow the direction of fuel saving, by means of IoT electronics technology, a new project, named HyNet , is under development (see Figure 3):
“Maximizing the fuel efficiency of cars is not only a matter of engine and powertrain design. A group of companies and research institutions has launched a project that aims to unlocking the potential of data communications between hybrid vehicles and the infrastructure to optimize driving strategies. The desired result: Less fuel consumption, less emissions, better traffic flow.” (Source: smart2zero)
The HyNet Project (Source: Microwave engineering europe)
In the third part of this blog series I will further describe the strengths and the potentials of electronics technology applied to smart e-vehicles solutions, which is a really promising example of an application of electronic technology to smart e-mobility, to make our lives easier without impacting the environment we live in.